Wal-Mart's global first-half sales reach record of $74bn

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The Independent Online
WAL-MART, THE giant US retailer which bought the UK's Asda supermarkets chain earlier this year, yesterday unveiled record sales and earnings for the first half of 1999.

The group, the world's largest retailer, saw worldwide sales in the six months to 31 July reach $74bn (pounds 47bn). Net income in the six months was $2.36bn (pounds 1.47bn), a record high and up 27 per cent on the previous year.

Wal-Mart surprised the London stock market in June by announcing an agreed pounds 6.7bn takeover of Asda, which owns 229 stores in the UK.

The deal trumped a rival bid for the Asda supermarkets by Woolworth-to- Comet retail group Kingfisher. David Glass, president and chief executive of Wal-Mart, said yesterday: "With the help of our devoted customers, dedicated associates [staff] and loyal shareholders, I am confident this will be another year of record results. We also completed the Asda acquisition this quarter and I am excited to welcome our new associates in the UK to the Wal-Mart family."

The takeover by Wal-Mart means 50,000 Asda staff with share options are getting the chance to transfer those options to Wal-Mart stock.

Earlier this week Asda, unveiled the latest step in its price cutting campaign by announcing pounds 30m worth of price cuts at its stores.

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