retail news in context, analysis with attitude

• In Arkansas, CityWire.com reports that Walmart's private brand food prices are "at an all-time high." According to the story, a shopping basket of private brand items purchased at Walmart is up 1.7 percent compared to a year ago ... and while a basket of branded products bought from Walmart remains less expansive than identical products bought at competitors such as Target and Publix, the gap is not as big as it used to be. And when compared to Aldi, the story suggests, Walmart's private brand prices are considerably higher.

Reuters this morning reports that "Wal-Mart Stores Inc posted a better-than-expected quarterly profit on Thursday as its Walmart U.S. division showed a 2.6 percent rise in sales at stores open at least a year."

Regarding the ongoing investigation into systemic and systematic bribery took place in its mexico division, and charges that the company covered it up when the allegations came to light, Walmart said that it does not think there will be any impact on its business but "can provide no assurance that these matters will not be material to its business in the future."
KC's View:
Walmart - and its leadership - needed some good news, and after nine consecutive quarters of stagnant US same store sales, now it has had three good quarters. Maybe that gives top execs there some breathing room ... but I'm not convinced that the bribery case won't have a material impact on the Bentonville Behemoth.