Groceries accounted for 51% of Wal-Mart Stores Inc.âs U.S. sales last year, the first time the category garnered more than half the retailerâs revenue.
With a 51% share of total revenue, Wal-Martâs U.S. grocery sales generated about $131.7 billion in the companyâs fiscal 2010, based on a March 30 filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
Groceries accounted for 49% of U.S. sales in 2009, Wal-Mart said in the filing.
The figures illustrate Bentonville, Ark.-based Wal-Martâs expanding reliance on groceries and its growing dominance in food retailing. Groceries are by far Wal-Martâs biggest merchandise category, with the next-biggest, entertainment, accounting for 13% of 2010 sales.
Wal-Martâs share of the $816 billion U.S. retail food business is expected to rise to 21.6% in 2010 from 20.5% in 2009, Citigroup Inc. analyst Deborah Weinswig said in a report last month.
In a March 10 investor presentation, Wal-Mart chief operating officer Bill Simon said the company will accelerate ârollbacks,â or permanent price reductions. Analysts say that with more aggressive rollbacks, Wal-Mart is going after Kroger Co. and other major supermarket chains that drew customers away in recent years.
âWeâre always about price,â Simon said March 10. âWe have to deliver price, and we do.â
Wal-Martâs U.S. stores, excluding Samâs Club, had sales of $258.2 billion in the companyâs fiscal 2010, which ended Jan. 31. The 2010 sales were up 1.1% from $255.4 billion in 2009.
(Note on correction: An earlier version of this story had an incorrect dollar amount regarding Wal-Mart's fiscal 2010 sales figures).