Wal-Mart same-store sales up 1.4 percent in third quarter
Wal-Mart announced third-quarter net sales for this year to be approximately $90.9 billion, 8.8 percent over the same quarter for the previous year, which was $83.5 billion.
The company also reported net income to be $2.86 billion, up 7.9 percent from last year’s income of $2.6 billion.
The company also reported comparable-store sales rose 1.4 percent, a smaller gain than the 2.1 increase the company saw last year.
“Our results for the third quarter reflect the improved performance of our U.S. operations. Both Wal-Mart Stores U.S. and Sam’s Club increased profits faster than sales. Wal-Mart International posted a solid quarter as well,” said Lee Scott, Wal-Mart Stores’ president and CEO. “Our focus on managing inventory this quarter was very positive.”
The company expects U.S. comparable-store sales to be flat to 2 percent for the fourth quarter.
U.S. Concrete sales flat in the third quarter
Houston-based ready mix concrete company U.S. Concrete saw a relatively flat quarter for sales, with earnings growth hurt in part by adverse weather and a difficult housing market.
Earnings fell 10.5 percent to $10.04 million from $11.22 million in last year’s third quarter. Sales essentially were flat at $250.3 million compared with $250.6 million in the same period last year.
“This decline reflects the continued downturn in residential home construction activity in many of our markets, together with the impact of adverse weather conditions early in the quarter in our Texas markets,” the company said in a statement.
President and CEO Michael Harlan said although the company has been challenged by negative trends in residential construction, U.S. Concrete was able to charge higher prices for its product: the average sales price per cubic yard of ready-mixed concrete increased 5.5 percent in the third quarter compared with last year.
“However, we are seeing early signs of pricing pressure in select markets from our competition,” Harlan said. “Given these market conditions and an expectation for a decline in volumes in 2008, we are aggressively evaluating our cost structure and asset base. We have already begun to take action in several markets to bring our cost structure in line with our volume outlook and will continue to make adjustments throughout our business units over the coming months.”
U.S. Concrete serves professional and construction markets, with products including ready-mixed concrete, concrete-related products and precast products.
Restoration Hardware will go private
Specialty home decor and home furnishings retailer Restoration Hardware has been sold to private equity firm Catterton Partners for $267 million, in a move that will take the retailer private.
Restoration Hardware has seen several quarters of weakness due to an ultra-competitive home decor and furnishings environment. Strong competition from similar retailers, including Pottery Barn, Williams-Sonoma Home, West Elm, Pier 1 and Design Within Reach, combined with a downturn in the housing sector, led to losses in the company’s most recent fiscal quarter.
“We are excited about the opportunity to work with Catterton Partners, which has a successful track record and significant experience in the consumer and retail industries,” said Gary Friedman, Restoration Hardware chairman, president and CEO, in a statement. “We believe this partnership will provide us with important resources to execute our operating and growth strategies over the long term.”
J. Michael Chu, managing partner of Catterton Partners, said, “By combining our respective expertise, we believe we can continue to evolve and grow the brand and become a dynamic force in the marketplace.”
Under the terms of the agreement, in which Restoration Hardware will merge with a subsidiary of Catterton Partners, all of the company’s outstanding shares will be acquired for a price-per-share of $6.70.
The agreement still is subject to the approval of shareholders, as well as regulatory approval, but is expected to close in the first quarter of 2008.
In August, Restoration Hardware announced it would cut 100 jobs at the company’s Corte Madera, Calif.-based headquarters in order to save $9 million annually. In its second quarter, the company swung to a $5.5 million loss from $2.2 million in earnings last year.
Sales rose 2.2 percent to $183.8 million compared with $179.3 million last year.
Restoration Hardware has approximately 100 retail stores and eight outlet stores in 30 states, Washington, D.C., and Canada.