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After dim May, Wal-Mart looks to improve comps


BENTONVILLE, Ark. Wal-Mart Stores Thursday reported that net sales for the four weeks ended June 1 increased 7.7% to $28.26 billion from $26.23 billion for the same period last year. For the fiscal month of May, the company reported a comparable-store sale increase 1.3%, which includes the impact of fuel sales, compared to a 3.5% increase last year.

For the 17-week period ended June 1, the company reported net sales of $116 billion, an increase of 8% over $107 billion last year. Comparable-store sales (including fuel) for the 17-week period increase 0.8% compared to an increase of 3.6% last year.

Wal-Mart Stores saw strong performance in the grocery and garden departments and soft performance in the apparel and home categories, Sam's Club also saw gains in its food-related areas, but outdoor furniture and grill sales were softer than expected, the company reported.

Last week, the Wal-Mart stores announced plans at its shareholders’ meeting to leverage capital resources through a strategy designed to improve returns, productivity and sales within its U.S. stores.  The plans include moderating the growth of its U.S. supercenters, as well as a new share repurchase program that increased the company’s authorization to $15 billion.

“Wal-Mart U.S. continues to focus on its plan to improve comparable-store sales,” said Tom Schoewe, evp and cfo of Wal-Mart Stores. “We are pleased with how strong sales were at Sam’s Club during the four-week May reporting period.”

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