Family-controlled retail giant Walmart announced on 22 February that its sales for the fourth quarter had grown despite seeing a slowdown in its US home market.
In a statement, the Arkansas-based retailer said that revenues rose by 2.5% to $115.6 billion while its profits increased by 27% for the fourth quarter. This rise was attributed to the company’s strong operations of Walmart International and Sam’s Club, while emerging markets too had seen a boost with every country contributing to an increase in sales.
However, revenues from US stores – its core operations – dropped by almost 2%. Mike Duke, president and chief executive of Walmart, said: “We are pleased with Walmart's strong earnings performance for both the fourth quarter and the full year across our three operating segments. At the same time, we are disappointed by Walmart US fourth quarter sales.”
The company said that its attempts to improve productivity by reducing variety had backfired, leading to a reduction in customer traffic in its US stores.
Walmart, which also owns the UK subsidiary Asda, is controlled by the Walton family, which holds a 40% stake in the business. Sam Walton founded Walmart in 1962, and son Rob Walton is the current chairman. He is estimated to be worth around $20 billion according to Forbes.
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