Bill Simon, president and CEO of Walmart U.S., said today during a conference call in which Walmart Stores, Inc. reported its fiscal year 2011 fourth quarter financials, that the Bentonville, Arkansas-based global retailer has decided on a name for its new smaller-format food and grocery-focused stores. The name: "Walmart Express."
The "Walmart Express" name will be used for the smaller-format stores, which will range up to about 30,000 square-feet, which we've reported on and written about extensively in Fresh & Easy Buzz, in both urban and rural markets, Simon said today.
The head of Walmart's largest division, Walmart U.S., also said today that the first "Walmart Express" stores are set to open in the second quarter of this year, just a few months from now.
As we've previously reported, Walmart has secured numerous locations for the smaller-format, food and grocery-focused stores in California, including in both the southern and northern parts of the Golden State.
For example, in this January 10, 2011 story: Walmart 'Gets Real' With Smaller-Format Grocery Store Initiative in California; First Stores On Tap - we reported on specific locations Walmart has obtained in California for its smaller-format stores. We also reported in our piece that Walmart is preparing to open the first batch of its smaller-format stores soon, which Walmart U.S. president and CEO Bill Simon confirmed today, saying: "The development of our small format is progressing ahead of schedule. We expect to open our first 'Walmart Express' stores in the second quarter [of 2011]" [Also see - July 6, 2010: Walmart Looking for Store Sites in Northern California For 20,000 Sq-Ft Neighborhood Market by Walmart Prototype Store; and September 20, 2010: About Today's Walmart Stores, Inc. Smaller Stores Media Frenzy: We Scooped it On July 6, 2010.]
Since publishing our story in early January, we've learned about and additional 10 locations in Southern California that Walmart Stores has acquired for its smaller-format stores. We've agreed with the Southern California commercial real estate source that provided the information to us not to list the locations of the stores just yet.
In addition to California, Walmart has acquired locations, has sites in the pipeline and has further plans to acquire locations for its "Walmart Express" smaller format stores throughout the U.S., including in major urban regions like Chicago, Washington D.C., New York and elsewhere.
Additionally, along with urban area, Walmart plans to open the smaller-format food and grocery stores in suburban and rural regions of the U.S., which is something we've previously reported, and that Bill Simon confirmed today.
Simon also said today that he and Walmart Stores, Inc. is disappointed with the sales performance of Walmart U.S. for the fourth quarter. "Our 1.8 percent comp decline for the fourth quarter didn’t meet anyone’s expectations. They certainly didn’t meet mine. Period," Simon said today.
Walmart Stores, Inc. reported a 1.8% decline in comparable store sales at Walmart U.S. for the 13-week period ended Jan. 28, 2011. On a slightly brighter note, comparable sales for Walmart's Sam's Club wholesale club division increased 2.7 percent, excluding fuel sales, for the same period.
Below is a summary of the financial metrics Walmart Stores, Inc. reported today for its fourth quarter:
- Walmart reported diluted earnings per share from continuing operations (reported EPS) of $1.41. This compares to $1.261 per share from continuing operations last year. Fourth quarter underlying diluted EPS from continuing operations was $1.342.
- Reported EPS from continuing operations for the fourth quarter included tax benefits of $243 million, or approximately $0.07 cents per share.
- Consolidated operating income for the fourth quarter was $8.0 billion, up 7.3 percent from last year.
- Net sales for the fourth quarter were $115.6 billion, an increase of 2.5 percent from last year.
- Walmart U.S. comparable store sales declined 1.8 percent in the 13-week period ended Jan. 28, 2011. Sam's Club comparable sales, without fuel, increased 2.7 percent for the same period.
- Full year reported EPS from continuing operations was $4.18, compared with last year's EPS of $3.731.
- Full year underlying diluted EPS from continuing operations was $4.072.
- Consolidated operating income for the full year was up 6.4 percent to $25.5 billion.
- Net sales for the full year were $419 billion,an increase of 3.4 percent.
- The company leveraged operating expenses for the quarter and the full year.
- Return on investment (ROI) for the fiscal year ended Jan. 31, 2011 remained strong and stable at 19.2² percent. Walmart ended the year with strong free cash flow of $10.92 billion.
- For the year, the company returned a record $19.2 billion to shareholders through dividends and share repurchases.
Fresh & Easy Buzz will have additional news and analysis on Walmart's new "Walmart Express" smaller-format food and grocery store initiative upcoming soon. In the meantime...
Follow the story in Fresh & Easy Buzz: Walmart's New Smaller-Store Initiative
July 6, 2010: Walmart Looking for Store Sites in Northern California For 20,000 Sq-Ft Neighborhood Market by Walmart Prototype Store]
September 20, 2010: About Today's Walmart Stores, Inc. Smaller Stores Media Frenzy: We Scooped it On July 6, 2010
September 23, 2010: Revisting 'marketside by Walmart': Format As We Know it On the Way Out But Some or All Of the Four Stores Could Be Converted
October 13, 2010: Simon Says: Walmart U.S. CEO Outlines Smaller Store Strategy and Plans; Walmart to Offer Groceries Online in USA
October 11, 2010: Walmart to Outline its Urban-Focused Smaller-Format Grocery Store Plans Wednesday; What Might Be In-Store?
October 12, 2010: 'The Insider': Live-Blogging Walmart Stores' 17th Annual Meeting For the Investment Community.
January 10, 2011: Walmart 'Gets Real' With Smaller-Format Grocery Store Initiative in California; First Stores On Tap
January 11, 2011: A 'New York State of Mind': 'The Insider' On Walmart, Apollo Global Management, Tesco's Fresh & Easy and the NRF in New York City
Readers: You can read additional stories about Walmart, including its smaller-format development at (by clicking on) the following links - 20K Neighborhood Market by Walmart prototye, California, Wal-Mart, Walmart, Walmart in California 2011, walmart small store strategy, Walmart Stores marketside by Walmart, Wal-Mart, Wal-Mart format innovation, Wal-Mart hybrid supercenters, Wal-Mart Marketside, Wal-Mart Modesto CA, Wal-Mart Supercenter, Wal-Mart's new Supercenter prototype, Walmart, marketside store brand, brand marketside, Walmart Stores Inc. Use the 'Older Posts' 'Newer Posts' links at the bottom of the linked pages for more pages/stories.