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Domestic sales revival boosts the world's biggest family business

The Walton family-controlled retail giant Walmart has seen a revival in its domestic sales in the second quarter of this year, following a disappointing performance in 2010.

The Walton family-controlled retail giant Walmart has seen a revival in its domestic sales in the second quarter of this year, following a disappointing performance in 2010.

The Arkansas-based retailer said in a statement that its US sales rose to $64.89 billion for the quarter ending 31 July, up from the $62.66 billion it achieved in the previous three months.

Mike Duke, the company’s non-family president and chief executive, said: “I'm encouraged by the sales improvement in our Walmart US stores. Comparative sales have increased sequentially month to month within the quarter. In fact, this was the best quarterly performance since the third quarter of fiscal 2010.” The company’s fiscal year ends on 31 January.

Walmart reported revenues of $108.6 billion, up 5.5% from $103 billion in last year’s second quarter. Growth was also attributed to the strong performance of Walmart International and Sam’s Club – which is a member’s only warehouse club featuring branded products at low prices – both of which posted an increase in revenues.

The world’s largest retailer acquired South African retailer Massmart and Netto stores in the UK this year, and is also reportedly looking to expand into Brazil by bidding for Carrefour’s Brazilian operations.

The Walton family, which also owns UK subsidiary Asda, holds around 48% of Walmart through the Walton Family Foundation. The company is in the process of buying back $15 billion shares from investors, which will likely increase the Walton family’s stake in the business.

Founded in 1962 by brothers Sam and Bud Walton, Walmart was incorporated in 1969 and shares were listed in 1972. Considered the world’s third-largest employer, second-generation Rob Walton is the current chairman of the company and has an estimated fortune of $19.8 billion according to Forbes.

His younger brother Jim Walton is a board member and also featured on the billionaire list with an estimated wealth of $20.7 billion.

Walmart had 2011 fiscal revenues of $419 billion, making it the biggest company in the world in terms of revenue. 

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