Wal-Mart Wins More Affluent Shoppers

Little Rock, Ark. More affluent customers are shopping at Wal-Mart Stores Inc. during the economic slump and the retailer is in position to keep those shoppers when the economy improves, according to a company executive on Tuesday.

Eduardo Castro-Wright, CEO of Wal-Mart's U.S. division, told a New York gathering of analysts at a Lehman Bros. retail conference that the company's emphasis on low prices is keeping lower-income customers loyal and attracting more affluent shoppers who usually spend elsewhere.

"It's up to us with our store experience to capture their (more affluent customers') imagination and make sure they shop with us when things turn around," Castro-Wright said.

Shoppers with a household income of more than $55,000 to $70,000 are categorized by Wal-Mart as more affluent than its core customers. Castro-Wright cited company research that showed the number of more affluent shoppers increased 0.7% in February and was up 2.2% in March.

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