The Wal-Mart (WMT) Miracle Lives On

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After Costco (COST) posted poor numbers for last month and almost every other large retailer in the US said that the early parts of the fourth quarter were bad and the future looked worse, there was every reason to believe that Wal-Mart (WMT) would finally give up the ghost.

Most sources show that holiday shopping in November was disastrous for the industry.

Wal-Mart has clearly gone its own way and continues to prove that location, price, and a broad array or products and services from banking to prescriptions may allow the world’s largest retailer to make it though the recession without sustaining any significant damage.

For November, Wal-Mart same-store sales beat expectations.

What was really remarkable is that the company’s international business did not carry the load last month. As a matter of fact, revenue from outside the US dropped 11% to $7.1 billion. In earlier months, international had been the star.

The core of the retailer’s strength was, ironically, its old-line Wal-Mart stores unit, which had a revenue increase for the month of 6.5% to $21.5 billion and a same-store sales improvement of 2.9%. How ofter does a company’s largest unit pick up a pace in an economic downturn.

Not often.

Douglas A. McIntyre