New York City Discount’s two major retail players outperformed expectations in April, with both Wal-Mart Stores and Target reaping positive results from warmer weather and more positive U.S. consumer attitudes.
Wal-Mart Stores said Thursday its same-store sales rose 5% in April. Analysts had predicted a 2.9% increase.
The company attributed the positive results to sales of Easter merchandise and higher traffic in the month. Wal-Mart also said it would no longer report monthly same-store sales, saying it will report sales data when it releases its quarterly results.
Wal-Mart said same-store sales increased 5.9% at its namesake U.S. stores and 0.3% at Sam's Club warehouse stores. Same-store sales rose 4%, including fuel.
"We gained new customers, improved our market share position and found that when customers had more money to spend, they spent it more often at Wal-Mart," said vice chairman Eduardo Castro-Wright.
Total sales for the four-week period ended May 1 increased 2% to $29.85 billion. Total first-quarter sales rose nearly 1.0% to $96.08 billion.
Target Corp., which also announced its April results on Thursday, saw a positive April performance as well.
The company reported that same-store sales rose 0.3% in April, and is predicting that its first-quarter showing will beat expectations.
Total sales rose nearly 5% to $4.44 billion. Year-to-date, same-store sales fell 3.7% and total sales rose less than 1% to $14.36 billion.
CEO Gregg Steinhafel said in a statement that financial results have been better than expected in the first quarter, due to a better performance by the company's credit-card business, lower expenses and fewer markdowns than expected.
The credit-card unit has negatively impacted results in the past, and Target sold off 47% of its credit-card receivables to JPMorgan a year ago. The company said credit-card results were in line with expectations and that it expects first-quarter earnings "well above" analyst expectations.
Ross Stores also exceeded analysts’ expectations in April, with a same-store sales rise of 6%. Total sales increased 11% to $534 million for the four weeks ended May 2. For the quarter ended May 2, sales totaled $1.692 billion, a 9% increase.
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