Walmart de México, Mexico’s biggest retailer (and commonly called Walmex) was on fire in December, with total consolidated sales up a whopping 12.5 per cent compared with the same month in 2014.

That nearly 60bn peso ($3.35 bn) Christmas present crowned a year in which total consolidated sales rose 11 per cent to 485.9bn pesos, as this table shows, writes Jude Webber in Mexico City.

The speed of growth at the flagship Mexican operations, while outstripped by that of Walmex’s Central American operations, beat market expectations. Mexican same store sales for December (that is, stores that have been in operation for more than a year), boosted sales by 9.1 per cent, above the market consensus of 7.1 per cent.

Santander analysts were suitably impressed, highlighting “the good execution the company experienced during the holiday season. We reiterate our positive view on Walmex”.

It said the results pointed to retail sales growth of 12.8 per cent year-on-year for the fourth quarter last year, 3.1 per cent ahead of Santander’s quarterly estimate. Fourth quarter results are out on January 16.

So what’s the secret? Aggressive pricing, Santander said, especially at Walmex’s low-end Bodega Aurrera stores which make up 40 per cent of the company’s sales. This, Santander cautioned, could cause gross margin pressures in the fourth quarter – but as it said, “no pain, no gain …. [this strategy] has positioned Walmes as the winner among Mexican food retailers”.

Walmex’s results also underscore Mexico’s firming domestic consumption – good news for an economy that is growing, but still way below heady expectations a couple of years back

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