* Wal-Mart CFO stands by fiscal-year sales, EPS forecasts
* Adding more self-checkout lanes at Walmart, Sam's Club
* Rising gas prices a problem for Walmart customers
By Jessica Wohl
March 7 Wal-Mart Stores Inc will
add more self-checkout lanes at its Walmart and Sam's Clubs
stores as it continues to look for ways to lower costs and
prices, Chief Financial Officer Charles Holley said on
Holley said he was "very pleased" with traffic and sales at
Walmart's U.S. stores this quarter, which started in February.
Shoppers using their tax refund checks helped drive some of the
sales, he said.
While Wal-Mart expects inflation to moderate this year,
gasoline prices remain a "wild card," Holley said. "If oil
continues to go up, I think that can be a drag on economies
around the world."
Higher gasoline prices could have an impact on Walmart's
U.S. shoppers in particular, as many of the chain's core
customers have lower incomes and some have lost their jobs.
"If gas prices do start ... creeping back up to $4 and $5 I
think that's going to be a problem for our customer," Holley
Shares of Wal-Mart, the world's largest retailer and a
component of the Dow Jones industrial average, rose 0.8
percent to $59.43 in morning trading on the New York Stock
ADDING MORE SELF-CHECKOUT LANES
Pushing more shoppers to scan their own items and make
payments without the help of a cashier, has the potential to
save Wal-Mart millions of dollars. For every one second in
average transaction time at the Walmart U.S. chain, the company
said it spends about $12 million in cashier wages.
The company will not eliminate cashiers, but it does plan to
open more self-checkout lanes at Walmart, where some 1,600 of
the more than 3,800 U.S. stores already have them. At the Sam's
Club warehouse chain, about 80 out of 611 stores already have
self-checkout lanes and another 220 will get them this year,
Holley stood by Wal-Mart's financial targets, calling for
fiscal 2013 sales to rise 5 percent to 7 percent and for
earnings of $4.72 to $4.92 per share. Analysts, on average,
anticipate a per-share profit of $4.86, according to Thomson
Reuters I/B/E/S. The company's fiscal year ends in January.
Holley made the comments at a Bank of America Merrill Lynch
conference in New York, which was also broadcast over the
In February, Wal-Mart posted a slightly
smaller-than-expected increase in fourth-quarter profit.