Walmart is expanding its use of self-checkout, adding lanes in the 1,600 Walmart stores that currently use the technology and introducing it in 220 more Sam's Club stores this year, according to published reports. Currently, only 80 of the 600-plus Sam's Club locations offer customers a self-checkout option.
Speaking at a Bank of America Merrill Lynch conference on March 7, Walmart CFO Charles Holley said the retailer is seeking ways to lower costs and prices. He noted that for every one second in average transaction time at Walmart's U.S. stores, the company spends approximately $12 million in cashier wages. Holley also said that the prospect of higher gas prices would have a particular impact on Walmart's shoppers, as many have lower incomes or have lost their jobs.
Financial results for Walmart's fourth quarter, which ended January 27, 2012, showed a 5.8% increase over the same period the previous year in consolidated net sales, which totaled $122.3 billion. Comparable store sales for its U.S. stores rose 1.5% during the quarter. For the full year, consolidated net sales of $443.9 billion represented a 5.9% increase over the previous year.