By Daina Beth Solomon
MEXICO CITY (Reuters) -Walmart’s Mexico unit on Tuesday said its first quarter revenue fell slightly from a year ago, hit by weaker sales in Central America where economies have suffered from pandemic lockdown measures.
Walmart de Mexico, known locally as Walmex,, brought in revenue of 170.76 billion pesos ($8.36 billion) in the January-to-March period, down 0.3% from a year ago.
While total sales in its main Mexico market grew 0.5%, sales in Central America, home to about a fourth of the retailer’s stores, fell 2.7%.
“Central America continues to face a challenging environment,” Walmart de Mexico said in a statement accompanying it results. It reported a drop in same-store sales in Costa Rica, Guatemala and El Salvador, with only Honduras and Nicaragua posting increases.
Overall, the company reported net profit of 10.1 billion pesos ($493.2 million) in the quarter, up 0.7% from the year-earlier period and slightly better than analyst estimates.
The quarter also saw the debut of 24 stores, mostly in Mexico. It was the fastest rate of openings for the first quarter in five years and took the retailer’s total footprint to 3,513 stores.
Walmart de Mexico said online shopping now makes up 4.2% of total sales, compared with 3.8% at the close of 2020.
It added that it was preparing to comply with Mexico’s modified labor law, which was recently reformed to limit the use of subcontracting.
The company, which is Mexico’s biggest retailer, added that it did not expect the new law to affect its financial results for the year.
($1= 20.4200 pesos at end-March)
(Reporting by Daina Beth Solomon, Abraham Gonzalez and Noe Torres, Editing by Rosalba O’Brien and Richard Pullin)