Sales fall at Walmart...

WALMART suffered its ninth consecutive sales fall last quarter despite heavy discounting, as it warned that the uncertain US economic recovery was taking its toll.

Same-store sales at Walmart in the US, excluding fuel, were down by 0.9 per cent from a year ago.

However, net income rose 5.7 per cent in the second quarter to $3.8bn (£2.3bn). Total revenues were up by 5.4 per cent to $109.3bn.

Walmart, seen as a bellwether for the performance of the US economy, has shaken up its product ranges and cut prices in a bid to stimulate sales.

Bill Simon, chief of Walmart’s US business, said: “We remain concerned about the economic pressure on our customers and the uncertain impact it can have on their shopping behaviour.”

The world’s largest retailer stressed its commitment to low prices and widening its price gap versus competitors, following analyst reports in recent weeks that suggested those gaps have narrowed in areas such as food.

Walmart said US same-store sales improved each month during the quarter. Fewer customers visited Walmart US stores, but those who shopped spent more on average, the company said.