Wal-Mart Poised to End Nine Quarters of Sales Declines
Wal-Mart Stores said it is finally poised to end its nine straight quarters of declining sales at stores open at least a year in its core U.S. business, SW Retail Advisors analyst Stacey Widlitz told CNBC.
Executives for the world's largest retailer said during the company's annual meeting for analysts Wednesday morning that its same-store sales at its Wal-Mart stores have been positive for the past three months, and have been trending higher since May.
Shares of Wal-Mart , which no longer reports its same-store sales results on a monthly basis, rose on the news.
According to Widlitz, Wal-Mart has turned around its U.S. business by broadening the range of products it offers and by once again focusing on having the lowest prices.
Wal-Mart also told analysts that the company will be investing more than $2 billion in pricing initiatives over the next two years.
Wal-Mart's core shopper has been hurt hard by the economic downturn. Some of these customers have switched to even lower-priced options such as dollar stores to buy what they need. Or they have traded down from national brands to private-lable product.
According to Widlitz, Wal-Mart executives have seen fewer consumers trading down in recent weeks.
"Their target consumer is under a lot of pressure so I still think this is a wait-and-see kind of story," Widlitz said.