Wal-Mart to increase grocery promotions over next six weeks
Bentonville, Ark. Wal-Mart Stores will dramatically increase its promotions over the next six weeks, according to a report by Reuters.
A Morgan Stanley analyst said Friday that the promotional surge is a major setback for U.S. grocers.
“While this helps address Walmart’s traffic woes, we view this as a major setback for the grocery stocks, which have been rallying on hopes of a return to more rational pricing,” Morgan Stanley analyst Mark Wiltamuth wrote in a note.
Wiltamuth said the information on the promotions came from chief merchandising officer John Fleming during a store tour and presentation.
Reuters said Wal-Mart could not be reached for confirmation.
Wal-Mart has used aggressive pricing in grocery and other units to bring shoppers into its stores. Investors have been concerned about signs that shoppers who gravitated to Wal-Mart during the worst of the recession are returning to rivals. Wal-Mart’s traffic fell in its U.S. stores during its fourth quarter, despite the holiday season when shopping is at its peak.
Wiltamuth wrote that Wal-Mart management said customers entering stores would be greeted by signs advertising price rollbacks on 10,000 items. The focus of the price cuts will be on food and other consumables, the analyst said.
The changes, to hit stores by April 1, will be supported by a television and media campaign, he said.
Home Depot moves Black Friday to spring
ATLANTA The Home Depot announced that it will offer “Black Friday” deals this spring.
The company announced that in March and April, prices on hundreds of the most sought after spring products will be significantly reduced including: a variety of live goods and lawn care; outdoor power; eco-friendly gardening products; and patio and grills.
“Spring is our Christmas,” said Craig Menear, EVP merchandising. “Traffic in our stores is at its highest during the spring season as customers look to take on outdoor projects to improve the appearance of their homes and we want to give them the best deals possible to meet all of their outdoor needs.”
According to Home Depot, the date of its Spring Black Friday event will vary by market based on climate by geography. The first are set to begin on March 18.
Stein Mart makes a profit, but sales down
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. For the fourth quarter of 2009, Stein Mart reported net earnings of $2.7 million or 6 cents per diluted share compared with a net loss of $56.2 million or $1.35 per diluted share for the fourth quarter of 2008.
The company reported net income of $23.6 million or 54 cents per diluted share for its fiscal 2009 period compared with a net loss of 71.3 million or $1.72 per diluted share last year.
Sales for the fourth quarter of 2009 decreased 6.1% to $341.8 million from $363.9 million in 2008. Comparable-store sales decreased 3.8% from the fourth quarter of 2008 to the fourth quarter of 2009. For the 52 weeks ended January 30, sales decreased 8.1% to $1.2 billion from $1.3 billion for the same 52 weeks ended last year. Comparable-store sales declined 5.6% from 2008 to 2009.
“We are proud to have reversed two years of losses and earned a significant profit in one of the most demanding years in our company’s history,” said David Stovall, Jr., president and CEO of Stein Mart. “Rigorous focus on inventory levels and freshness, dedication to expense reduction and emphasis on cash generation all contributed to our profitability this year. Our 13,000 associates were instrumental in the gains we made in 2009 and I want to thank them for their devotion and efforts.”