Retail giant Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (WMT: Quote) reported Thursday a profit for the second quarter that increased 6 percent from last year, reflecting positive comps across all three geographic business units and store formats.
Earnings per share topped analysts' expectations by a penny, while quarterly revenues missed their estimates. The company provided earnings guidance for the third quarter, in line with Street view, and raised its earnings forecast for the full-year 2013.
"We had positive comp sales in Walmart U.S. and Sam's Club, as well as each of our International markets, reinforcing that customers rely on Walmart to help them save money and live better," President and CEO Mike Duke said in a statement.
Walmart U.S. continued its momentum with net sales growth of 3.8 percent, and reported positive comparable store sales of 2.2 percent, without fuel, in the second quarter - the fourth consecutive quarter of positive comp sales.
"The team is very focused on delivering broad assortment and price leadership. Walmart's low prices drive greater customer loyalty," the company said.
The company attributed the domestic growth to increased traffic into stores to both the grocery and general merchandise areas. Walmart U.S. also grew operating income faster than sales this quarter at 5.3 percent.
The company noted that Sam's Club also delivered strong comps due to the "quality and innovation behind merchandising and services." Sam's Club net sales grew 3.8 percent, with comparable sales, without fuel, increasing 4.2 percent.
Meanwhile, Walmart International net sales grew 6.4 percent, but operating income grew slower than sales at 5.3 percent.
"Our intense focus on delivering productivity initiatives and reducing costs allowed us to invest in lower prices for our customers and to deliver strong profitability for shareholders," Duke noted.
The world's largest retailer reported net income of $4.02 billion or $1.18 per share for the second quarter, higher than $3.80 billion or $1.09 per share in the year-ago quarter. On average, 26 analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected earnings of $1.17 per share for the second quarter. Analysts' estimates typically exclude special items.
Walmart's revenues for the quarter increased 4.5 percent to $114.30 billion from $109.37 billion in the same quarter last year, but missed nineteen Wall Street analysts' consensus estimate of $115.75 billion.
Total net sales rose 4.5 percent to $113.53 billion from last year, and included a negative currency exchange rate impact of $2.18 billion. Total comparable store sales grew 2.5 percent. Constant currency sales grew 4.7 percent to $115.7 billion.
Looking ahead to the third quarter, the company expects earnings from continuing operations in a range of $1.04 to $1.09 per share. Street is looking for earnings of $1.05 per share for the quarter.
The company also projects comparable store sales growth for the quarter at Walmart U.S. of 1 to 3 percent, and at Sam's Club, without fuel, of 3 to 5 percent.
For fiscal 2013, Wal-Mart raised its earnings guidance to a range of $4.83 to $4.93 per share from the previous range of $4.72 to $4.92 per share. Street is currently looking for full-year 2013 earnings of $4.93 per share.
WMT closed Wednesday's regular trading session at $74.45, up $0.54 on a volume of 7.77 million shares. In the past 52 weeks, the stock traded in a range of $49.94 to $75.24.
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by RTT Staff Writer
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