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Walmart's Home Department Scores First Comp Gain Since ‘09

BENTONVILLE, ARK. - The home department at Walmart's U.S. stores generated positive same-store sales in the low single digits during the fourth quarter - the first time home has recorded a positive quarterly comp in 2 ½ years, according to the company.
     "We've worked diligently to focus on the basics and improve assortment through addbacks and item merchandising," Walmart U.S. president and ceo Bill Simon said of the performance. "Home management and food preparation were stand-out categories in our home area, and outdoor living performed better than expected during the warmer weather."
     Heavy promotions took a toll on overall margin for the parent corporation, and WalMart Stores Inc. took an almost 15% net income hit in the fourth quarter. Net income for the quarter ended Jan. 31 fell to $5.16 billion, or $1.50 per share, compared to $6.05 billion, or $1.70 a share, in the year-ago period.
     Sales for the total company fared better, rising 5.8% to $122.3 billion. By segment, Walmart U.S. posted a 2.4% net sales increase to $72.8 billion, and Sam's Club reported a 6.8% net sales gain to $14.0 billion. Total sales got a boost from the acquisitions of the Netto stores in the U.K. and Massmart in South Africa.
     Total company comps, excluding gasoline sales increased 2.1%. Comps were up 1.5% for Walmart U.S. and 5.4% for Sam's Club.
     Earnings per share for the fiscal year rose 8.6% to $4.54. Sales were up 5.9% to $443.9 billion.
     Sales for Walmart U.S. rose 1.5% to $264.21 billion. Sam's Club sales were up 8.8% to $53.8 billion. Comps for the year, without fuel impact, were up 0.9% for the total company, 0.2% for Walmart U.S. and 5.1% for Sam's Club.

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