Wal-Mart Says Shoppers Buying Small Appliances, Cookware

Posted on March 5, 2009

WalmartWal-Mart reported a 5.1% increase in sales at its stores open a year or more during February. Wal-Mart's Eduardo Castro-Wright says shopping trips are increasing again now that gasoline is cheaper. He also said shoppers are buying more groceries, small appliances and cooking equipment so they can save money by cooking at home.
"Shopping trips had seen a significant decline back when gasoline prices were at record high levels" Eduardo Castro-Wright, Wal-Mart's head of U.S. stores, said in a Feb. 26 interview. "Now we're seeing a reversal of that."

Wal-Mart, the world's biggest retailer, reported today that sales at U.S. stores open at least a year increased 5.1 percent in February, better than its prediction for 1 percent to 3 percent growth in the three months ending May 1. An increase in customer traffic drove the gains, Wal-Mart said in a statement.

Consumers' biggest worry has shifted from gasoline prices, which have tumbled from a record in July, to "the fear of losing their jobs and being able to make payments on mortgages and credit-card balances," Castro-Wright said.

Shoppers want to save money by eating in and are buying groceries, small appliances, cookware and "anything that has to do with the home," he said last week from his office in Bentonville, Arkansas, where Wal-Mart is based.
The home cooking trend that was also noted in a recent report that found sales of food magazines are rising. The report said that food magazines are also considering home cooks' budgets when they present recipes.