Wal-Mart December Same-Store Sales Up 2.4%

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. on Thursday reported a 2.4 percent rise in U.S. same-store sales in December, as customers flocked to its stores for cheap groceries, Reuters reports.

“In a difficult retail environment, we were pleased with our comparable store sales during this period,” Eduardo Castro-Wright, head of Wal-Mart’s U.S. store division, reportedly said. “Wal-Mart’s food performance was very strong, which helped drive traffic to other areas of the stores.

Wal-Mart’s 2.4 percent rise in U.S same-store sales beat analysts’ average forecast for a gain of 2.1 percent, was within the company’s forecast for a gain of 1 percent to 3 percent.

The world’s biggest retailer said net sales in the five weeks ended Jan. 4 were $46.6 billion, up from $42.99 billion a year ago.

Sales of grocery and pharmacy merchandise continued to outpace sales of higher margin general merchandise, Reuters reports. During the holiday heavy December shopping month, sales were strong in food, flat-panel televisions, digital cameras, and video games, but were “negative” in home and apparel.