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Wal-Mart lumbers towards $500B in sales
New industry report says the retail behemoth could hit half-trillion dollar in sales by 2010.
January 10, 2005: 4:28 PM EST
By Parija Bhatnagar, CNN/Money staff writer

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - Despite its wobbly performance during the 2004 holiday shopping season where consumers shunned Wal-Mart for being stingy with discounts, at least one new industry report Monday says the retail behemoth is still on track to hit a half-trillion dollar in sales by 2010.

In a report titled Wal-Mart 2010, market research firm Retail Forward said the world's largest retailer will top $500 billion in five years and will own 12 percent of all retail sales in the United States.

"While the world waits for Wal-Mart to collapse under its own weight, Wal-Mart waits for no one, demonstrating a remarkable capacity to manage the retail lifecycle and keep right on rolling," Sandy Skrovan, the report's author, said in a statement.

"Wal-Mart's strategy of innovation is not about creating incremental change. It is about creating new businesses that disrupt traditional businesses," she added.

Wal-Mart (Research) last year logged annual sales of $256 billion.

Wal-Mart is the biggest retailer across a growing number of categories. According to Retail Forward's ShopperScape consumer survey, one-third of all U.S. household shoppers visit a Wal-Mart store weekly. In fact, Wal-Mart boosts more than 100 million customers to its stores each week.

According to the Retail Forward report, by 2010 the typical consumer products manufacturer could have more than 35 percent of all its sales going through Wal-Mart.

More importantly, with its domestic market fairly well saturated, a quarter of Wal-Mart's sales going forward will come from its international operations, including new markets for growth and new store formats, the report said.

Robert Brusca, chief economist and retail analyst with FAO Economics, said he's not overly surprised by Retail Forward's growth projections for Wal-Mart despite the retailer's stumble over the holidays.

"Wal-Mart still has good prices for 11 months of the year. Consumers won't damn them for one slippage in November," Brusca said. "But Wal-Mart has some fierce and desperate competitors forming alliances."

Added Brusca,"As far as its international strategy, in Japan and Germany Wal-Mart is still trying to find the right way to apply its discount models."  Top of page

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