Wal-Mart Stores Inc. Cuts Profit Forecast

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Bentonville-based retailer Wal-Mart Stores Inc. cut its annual profit forecast after higher payroll taxes reduced customer traffic in the second quarter.

Profit per share in the year ending January 2014 will be $5.10 to $5.30, the company said today in a statement. That’s less than its earlier projection of $5.20 to $5.40.

The average of 28 analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg was $5.29 a share.

CEO Mike Duke has been advertising Wal-Mart’s low prices to draw U.S. shoppers coping with elevated unemployment and higher taxes.

Sales at Wal-Mart U.S. stores open at least a year excluding fuel fell 0.3 percent in the quarter ended July 26. Analysts estimated a 0.9 percent gain.