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Declining traffic is a global phenomenon


The trend of fewer people shopping Walmart stores less often has hurt the company’s efforts to revitalize U.S. sales growth, and now it the appears trip consolidation trend is playing out internationally as well.

Of the countries whose results international division president and CEO Doug McMillon highlighted during the company’s second quarter conference call, all experienced a decline in customer traffic. In the United Kingdom at Walmart’s Asda stores McMillon noted that average transaction size increased but traffic declined for a reason familiar to U.S. residents.

“Customers are consolidating their trips in the face of high fuel prices,” McMillon said.

In Mexico, he said comps increased 1.1% and average transactions sizes grew 2.2%, but traffic declined 1.1%. It was the same story in Brazil where average ticket increased 7.4% and customer traffic declined 4.6%. A similar trend was evident in China, but the divergence between ticket and trips was more pronounced. Average ticket increased by 10%, but traffic declined 8.2%, according to McMillon. Canada also saw fewer trips with traffic down 0.9% with average transaction sizes up 2.1%. Traffic declined a substantial 23% in Japan, but that decrease is understandable as the nation is still reeling from the after effects of a devastating earthquake and tsunami.

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