Retail giant Wal-Mart's first-quarter net profit to April 30 rose 6.3% to $2.6bn on net sales up 12.3% to $79.6bn. Like-for-like sales at its US stores increased 3.8%. Sales in its international division increased 22.9%. Lee Scott, president and CEO, said: "We are very pleased with our start to this fiscal year. The success of this quarter was the result of our focus on three goals: driving sales, reducing costs and improving inventory management."
Brewer InBev's first-quarter pre-tax profit rose 24.4% to E824m, on sales up 7.8% at E2.8bn. InBev said that beer sales volumes increased by 5.4% in the quarter overall, but it revealed that volumes had declined in Eastern and Western Europe. The company said: "While the competitive environment presents challenges, first-quarter results confirm that our long-term objective of value creation is solidly on track."
Food company Wessanen's first-quarter pre-tax profit increased 23% to E11.3m on flat sales of E408m.
Ad Veenhof, chief executive officer, said the company's sales had been hit by problems at its North American Distribution business and difficulties in the out-of-home market in the Benelux countries. However, although Wessanen's businesses in Europe had experienced a slow start to the year, sales were picking up and were expected to grow in the second quarter.
Retail media company Redbus Outdoor has secured a deal to sell all retail space, including shopping baskets, trolleys, floorspace and tills, within Wal-Mart stores in Germany. The partnership, which starts immediately, builds on Redbus's existing retail media network, which covers more than 1,000 Sainsbury, Tesco and Somerfield stores in the UK. Britta Kalinski, director of marketing at Wal-Mart Germany, said: "Wal-Mart is committed to the media channel to deliver accountable, compliant and effective campaigns within the superstore environment."
Bottler Coca-Cola HBC's first-quarter pre-tax profit to March 31 rose 1% to E122.4m on sales up 15% to E1.1bn. The company also said that unit case volumes had increased 9% for the period to 340 million. Doros Constantinou, MD of Coca-Cola HBC, said: "Although we are witnessing an improved input costs environment, certain raw material cost pressures persist. It was encouraging to see volume improvement and pricing realisation in line with expectations in most countries."
Grocer Winn-Dixie has sold 21 of its stores to 14 purchasers for $15m. The retailer said that the stores were among 35 locations it closed earlier this year following an evaluation of its store base. This week Winn-Dixie reported that its sales in the third quarter to April 5 had increased 3.4% to $1.8bn. Like-for-like sales had increased 6.7%.