Wal-Mart Profits Up 5.7 Percent in 2Q

by Talk Business & Politics ([email protected]) 93 views 

Success in all three of Wal-Mart Stores Inc.’s operating divisions helped the Bentonville-based company achieve a 5.7 percent increase in second-quarter profit.

Before the stock markets opened Thursday, the world’s largest retailer reported earnings of $4.02 billion, or $1.18 per share, for the quarter that ended July 31, up from $3.8 billion, or $1.09 per share, in the same period a year ago.

The Bentonville-based company topped the average earnings estimate of $1.17 per share from 26 analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters.

Revenue rose 4.5 percent, to $114.3 billion, including membership fees and other income.

Wal-Mart’s U.S. division, the company’s largest, reported net sales of $67.36 billion, up 3.8 percent. Sales at stores open at least a year, considered a key indicator of a retailer’s health, rose 2.2 percent.

This was the U.S. division’s fourth straight quarter of positive same-store sales.

Net sales for Wal-Mart International grew 6.4 percent, to $32.02 billion.

And net sales, including fuel, at Sam’s Club, Wal-Mart’s warehouse club division, rose 3.8 percent to $14.61 billion. Same-store sales, excluding fuel, grew 4.2 percent.

While pleased with the overall results, Wal-Mart president and CEO Mike Duke acknowledged the economic challenges customers face.

“The paycheck cycle remains pronounced in the United States and in our international markets,” Duke said in a news release. “Given continuing economic pressures, we believe that our price leadership and value are growing in importance to customers across income levels.”

Charles Holley, the retailer’s chief financial officer, said Wal-Mart returned $3.1 billion to shareholders during the quarter through dividends and share repurchases.

Slightly lower-than-expected revenue sent Wal-Mart’s shares down at mid-morning. They were trading at $71.91, down $2.54 or 3.4 percent, on the New York Stock Exchange. Shares have traded between $49.94 and $75.24 in the past year.

Wal-Mart’s shares have risen 25 percent to new records since first-quarter earnings were reported in mid-May.