Wal-Mart anticipates strong holidays
The retail giant says its layaway sales are soaring.
We've still got six weeks or so before the Black Friday consumer craziness starts. But Wal-Mart (WMT) is already looking ahead to a strong holiday shopping season. Shares in the retail giant hit a record high of $76.66 on Wednesday after its annual meeting with investors and retailers.
The Arkansas company says that in less than a month its U.S. layaway sales rose to $400 million. That's about half the amount shoppers put on hold for all of 2011. It's also ordering twice as many iPads for the holidays compared with last year while also upping its expansion plans. Wal-Mart will reportedly add up to 240 stories in fiscal 2014, with sales growth expected to rise by 5% to 7%.
"We will continue to expand our physical presence through a variety of formats across our markets," says Wal-Mart president and CEO Mike Duke, "while also investing in initiatives to enhance our operational excellence and further new e-commerce opportunities."
Wal-Mart is scheduled to announce its third-quarter earnings on Nov. 15. Analysts estimate its shares will come in at $1.07, compared with $0.97 during the same time period last year.
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