Bentonville, AR—Walmart reported that its second quarter earnings rose 5.7% thanks to sales increases in its international division and comparable store sales rise in the United States.But executives warned that the retailer’s “paycheck to paycheck” shoppers are still facing tough times in the months ahead due to an uncertain economy.
For the quarter ended July 31, Walmart posted net income of $4.02 billion, or $1.18 a share, up from $3.8 billion, or $1.09, a year earlier, when the quarter included a 3-cent net charge for several items.
Total revenue rose 4.5% to $114.3 billion. International sales rose 6.4% as operating income was up 5.4%. Wal-Mart’s U.S. division’s sales grew 3.8% to $67.35 billion in the latest quarter.Excluding fuel, U.S. comparable store sales rose 2.2% compared with the company’s May projection of 1% to 3%. Comparable store sales were up 4.2% at Sam’s Club, excluding fuel.
While Walmart’s profit edged past analysts’ expectations, the world’s largest retailer missed on their sales estimate for $114.63 billion.
“The paycheck cycle remains pronounced in the United States and in our international markets,” said Mike Duke, president/ceo. said in a statement. “Given continuing economic pressures, we believe that our price leadership and value are growing in importance to customers across income levels.”
But the retailer has been keeping tight control on expenses to help maintain margins. In addition, Walmart has been meeting the challenge in the United States by lowering prices that helped boost customer traffic for the third consecutive quarter.
Looking ahead, the company said it expects third quarter earnings between $1.04 to $1.09 a share with comp sales up 1% to 3%. Analysts had expected $1.05.
For its full fiscal full year, the company now expects earnings per share to be in the range of $4.83 to $4.93. That is up from Wal-Mart’s original forecast of $4.72 to $4.92 per share. Analysts’ consensus expects $4.93.
Following bribery charges that surfaced last May in Walmart’s Mexico division, the company has had to delay opening new stores in Mexico by as much as 90 days in order to confirm proper documentation is underway. The company has launched its own internal investigation in to the bribery charges working with law enforcement in the United States and Mexico.
This week, however, U.S. Reps. Henry Waxman and Elijah Cummings sent a letter to Duke suggesting the company may have had problems with money laundering and tax evasion.
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