Wal-Mart reverses comp sales decline to cut U.S. cap spending
Wal-Mart Stores had positive news for analysts and investors gathered for the retailer’s annual meeting on Wednesday in Rogers, Ark. The chain said its same-store sales rose in July, August and September, reversing a two-year slump. It also announced that it plans to cut its capital spending in the United States, even as it increased cap spending abroad, as it continues to shift toward building smaller stores.
Analysts have been closely watching for an end to the sales declines at Wal-Mart’s namesake U.S. stores, which account for 62% of the company’s total revenue. Wal-Mart will report its quarterly on Nov. 15.
"The progress is now visible in our business," said Bill Simon, president of Wal-Mart’s U.S. stores. "We have confidence in our plan."
At the meeting, the retailer updated its capital spending forecast for its current fiscal year (fiscal 2012, ending Jan. 31, 2012) to $13 billion to $14 billion, which includes acquisition-related expenditures. It expects total capital spending for fiscal 2013 to be within the same range. The company plans to add 45 million sq. ft. to 49 million sq. ft. next year, and expects total sales will grow 5% to 7%.
Wal-Mart said it will reduce its U.S. cap spending by 7.4% to $6 billion to $6.5 billion in its next fiscal year. It put its total U.S. growth for fiscal 2013 at 220 to 250 stores, up from 150 to 160 this current fiscal year. Of the total, 130 to 135 will be supercenters, 80 to 100 will be small- to medium-sized stores, and 10 to 15 will be under the Sam’s Club banner.
New Walmart supercenters now range from 90,000 sq. ft. to 150,000 sq. ft., although they still offer the assortment found in larger supercenters, according to Karen Roberts, president of Wal-Mart’s realty division. Previously, supercenters averaged about 185,000 sq. ft. The chain said it remained committed to the format.
The discounter open another six of its Walmart Express stores — which are less than one-tenth the size of a typical Walmart with a much smaller assortment — by the end of its current fiscal year.
Walmart International’s capital expenditures are estimated at $4 billion to $4.5 billion before acquisitions this year, and will rise to $4.5 billion to $5 billion before acquisitions in fiscal 2013.
“We continue to prioritize our investment in the emerging markets of China, Brazil and Mexico,” said Doug McMillon, Walmart International president and CEO.
McMillon told investors that the retailer would look first to countries where it already operates stores for M&A opportunities. No specific markets were identified.
“First and foremost, we want to build scale in the markets where we are,” McMillon said. “We like the markets that we are in and will continue to prioritize those. There are a few remaining high-growth markets we are not in, and we won’t miss an opportunity there if one presents itself.”
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IKEA plugs in two electrical vehicle-charging stations
IKEA officially plugged in two Blink Level 2 electric vehicle charging stations at its Portland, Ore., store as part of its partnership with ECOtality, a leader in clean electric transportation and storage technologies.
The initiative is the first such project for IKEA in the United States. Similar installations are planned at eight other IKEA stores in the western United States.
To charge an EV at IKEA Portland, drivers pull into a designated parking spot, swipe their Blink InCard (RFID card), plug the charger into the EV, and then shop while the vehicle is charging.
This is definitely good news
This is definitely good news for car owners whose cars are running on electrical power, and hopefully more places will make themselves EV friendly and encourage the usage of these cars.
Remodeling Show, Deck Expo showcase new innovation
Chicago — Decking vendors of all persuasions shared McCormick Place with suppliers of other remodeling materials as the Deck Expo and the Remodeling Show joined their events this year. Exterior siding and PVC/composite decking seemed to dominate the floor, although a large wood pavilion showcased cedar, redwood and pressure-treated lumber.
New products at the show included a line of DAP sealants and adhesives aimed at the professional window and siding installer. Called the Spec Line, this color-coded offering carries numeric labels that match industry-specific standards.
“If you use the wrong sealant and something goes wrong, you could be liable,” said Tom Rapps, VP marketing. “We’ve made our products to specifically match [manufacturers’] numbers and names.”
The product, which can also be used by drywall hangers, begins shipping in mid-November.
Sashco also brought out an innovative product in the same category, a tint-it-yourself caulking that can be mixed with regular paint to match the color. Exact Color sealant can be used on interior or exterior windows and doors and siding, as well as kitchen and bath.
At the Tapco booth, exterior siding made from PVC was cast in a brick pattern and came in four colors. “This is the first time we [exhibited] this in a show setting,” said Mel Marzan, a representative of Tapco. “It’s just hitting the market.”
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