Wal-Mart February sales up 8.9 percent
Wal-Mart Stores reported February 2008 sales at $29.2 billion, up 8.9 percent from $26.8 billion from the same month last year.
The company also reported comparable-store sales up 2.6 percent for the month, with Wal-Mart Stores up 2.5 percent and Sam’s Club stores up 2.8 percent.
“We’re very pleased with the way customers responded to our merchandise offerings and the ongoing ‘save money, live better’ messaging across our U.S. stores in February,” said Eduardo Castro-Wright, Wal-Mart Stores U.S. president and CEO. “The comp sales results in our three largest businesses continued to outperform the market.”
The company announced plans recently to open 81 Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club stores in the United States during March.
B&Q to charge for plastic bags
Following in the footsteps of IKEA, Britain’s B&Q chain of DIY stores plans to reduce reliance on free plastic bags in an effort to be more eco-friendly.
The retailer has been conducting a trial period of charging for plastic bags in Scotland and northeast England. In those locations, customers were charged an additional 5 pence (about 10 cents) for plastic bags at checkout. Now B&Q plans to roll out the trial to all of its more than 300 stores, according to the retailer’s parent, Kingfisher.
While charging for plastic bags in an effort to phase them out of use has been popular in Europe, IKEA is one of only a handful of retailers to charge for plastic bags in the United States.
Several countries have banned the use of plastic bags outright, while others have voted to limit their use, including Italy, Ireland, South Africa and Australia.
HIRI cements lineup for spring conference
The Home Improvement Research Institute (HIRI) will tackle the thorny topic of the credit market and its impact on home improvement at its upcoming conference.
The non-profit research organization’s 2008 Spring Conference kicks off April 3 in Washington, D.C., with a full lineup of sessions dedicated to home improvement industry research. One of the late additions to the lineup are Citigroup analysts Steven Wieting, managing director Citi Economic and Market Analysis, and Deborah Weinswig, managing director, retailing/broadlines food & drug and home improvement.
Wieting and Weinswig’s presentation will examine the relationship between the credit, housing and home improvement markets, with a forward-looking perspective.
Also on the agenda are a session called “The Structure of Remodeling Contractors and Coping with Business Cycles,” presented by Kermit Baker of the Joint Center for Housing Studies, Harvard University; and “Beyond Satisfaction: The Return of Loyalty,” by Ed Hass of International Communcations Research.