Wal-Mart’s 1Q Profit Gains 10.1%

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Wal-Mart Stores Inc.’s overseas sales helped the retailer to a 10.1 percent increase in first-quarter profit.

Shortly before the stock markets opened Thursday, the world’s largest retailer reported earnings of $3.74 billion, or $1.09 per share, for the quarter that ended April 30, compared to $3.45 billion, or 97 cents per share, in the same period a year ago.

The Bentonville-based company beat the average earnings estimate of $1.04 per share from 23 analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters.

Revenue rose 8.5 percent to $113.02 billion. That total includes net sales, including fuel, from Wal-Mart U.S., Wal-Mart International and Sam’s Club.

Net sales for Wal-Mart International grew 15 percent.

Its U.S. division, the company’s largest, reported net sales of 5.9 percent. Sales at stores open at least a year, considered a key indicator of a retailer’s health, rose 2.6 percent.

And net sales at Sam’s Club, Wal-Mart’s warehouse club division, rose 7.9 percent. Same-store sales at Sam’s Club grew 5.3 percent.

Wal-Mart president and CEO Mike Duke said in a news release the first-quarter performance reflects the success of the company’s business model — “driving the productivity loop, leveraging expenses and investing in price leadership.”

Charles Holley, the retailer’s chief financial officer, said Wal-Mart returned $2.9 billion to shareholders during the quarter through dividends and repurchases.

Wal-Mart’s shares were up $3.15, or 5.31 percent, at mid-morning Thursday, trading at $62.33 on the New York Stock Exchange. Shares have traded between $48.31 and $62.63 in the past year.