Wal-Mart Stores Inc.’s back-to- basics approach is boosting its apparel business.
The retailer’s U.S. division posted the first full year of positive comp sales in apparel in seven years in 2012. Wal-Mart U.S. chief executive officer Bill Simon said the growth was the result of a new apparel strategy focused more on basics and essentials that was put in place more than a year ago.
“This quarter, we posted low-single digit positive comps driven by the improved quality of our offering,” he said.
Jewelry posted the best comps of the year during the holiday season.
The improved results in apparel and jewelry came despite softer overall sales in the fourth quarter ended Jan. 26 that continued into the start of February. On Thursday, Wal-Mart reported that net income in the quarter rose 8.6 percent to $5.61 billion, or $1.67 a diluted share, from $5.16 billion, or $1.50, in the comparable 2011 period. Revenues rose 3.9 percent, to $127.92 billion from $123.17 billion. Same-store sales were at the low end of Wal-Mart’s guidance, up 1 percent in U.S. stores, lower than the 1.5 percent increase registered in the year-ago quarter.
For the full fiscal year, net income rose 8.3 percent to $17 billion, or $5.02 a diluted share, from $15.7 billion, or $4.52. Revenues increased 5 percent to $469.16 billion from $446.95 billion.
Wal-Mart’s gains in the fourth quarter were aided by a lower than expected effective tax rate. Wal-Mart president and ceo Mike Duke said the company’s goals include strengthening the U.S. business, improving International’s returns, greater efficiency through disciplined capital allocation, investing in global e-commerce and, in a reference to the retailer’s alleged corruption scandal in Mexico and possibly other foreign markets, continuing to strengthen Wal-Mart’s compliance organization.
Compliance, according to Duke, is “non-negotiable.” He said the retailer’s compliance programs “significantly improved around the world in fiscal 2013. We’ve spent thousands of hours and millions of dollars with compliance experts on anticorruption support and training,” he said.
The retailer said same-store sales are expected to be flat for the first quarter compared with a 2.6 percent increase in last year’s first quarter.
“February sales started slower than planned, due in large part to the delay in income tax refunds,” Simon said in a prerecorded earnings call.
Wal-Mart expects EPS for fiscal 2014 to range between $5.20 and $5.40.
A grooming moment between @tanfrance and @antoni last night at the The LGBT Community Center Trailblazer Awards honoring Anna Wintour, Ricky Martin and more. See more photos at WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @lexieblacklock)
“It was a very surreal feeling. It wasn’t like we were in the studio together coming up with it — it’s more like he discovered it and loved it. I didn’t let myself get my hopes up, but then it happened it was very exciting,” said singer-songwriter @nombe on discovering that @pharrell would be using his song, “Cant Catch Me” on his HBO documentary series “Outpost.” The German-born singer — named Noah MacBeth — talked to WWD about feminism, using art as a platform for political expression and personal style. Read more on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
This season, denim is going west – in influence. Brands like @fathersdaughterla (pictured here), @tommyhilfiger Jeans, @levis and more are opting for raw, top-stitching styles. (Styled by @thealexbadia; 📷: @ryanplett)
20-year-old British singer @jorjasmith_ made her debut at Coachella last weekend. We caught up with her and talked about her love for Amy Winehouse, working with Kendrick Lamar on the “Black Panther” album and her fashion philosophy. Read the interview on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @katiedaisyla)
Supermodel @helenachristensen teamed up with longtime friend and designer @camillastaerk on a joint @paredeyewear collaboration. The lineup features three styles and 11 offerings, all of which embody a vintage feel. Get all the details on how they celebrated the collab on WWD.com. #wwdaccessories #wwdeye (📷: @slovekinpics)
“It’s a hard industry to keep motivated, as well, so finding different subjects and people is what makes it worth it – when you’re like, oh, I’ve met great people, I feel like I’ve done something good, and I feel proud of having done this,” said French actress Stacy Martin on being grateful for the variety of roles she’s take on. Read @ktauer’s full interview with Martin on her her latest film “Godard Mon Amour.” #wwdeye (📷: @danieldorsa)