The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

May 16, 2013

Wal-Mart reports slight increase in earnings, sales

From staff reports

BENTONVILLE, Ark. — The world’s largest retailer on Thursday reported first-quarter earnings of $1.14 per share and net income of nearly $3.8 billion on sales of $114.2 billion.

That compares with earnings of $1.09 per share and net income of $3.74 billion on total sales of $113.0 billion for the same period one year earlier.

Wal-Mart’s first quarter ended April 30.

The company also announced this week that it expect second-quarter earnings per share to come in between $1.22 and $1.27, compared with $1.18 last year.

Comparable sales for stores open at a least one year in the United States showed a decline of 1.4 percent in the first quarter over the previous year.

The company in a statement attributed that to a delay in income tax refund checks this spring, “challenging weather conditions,” less grocery inflation than expected and the payroll tax increase, which went into effect at the first of the year.

“In a quarter marked by considerable headwinds to top line sales, Wal-Mart delivered solid earnings per share growth of 4.6 percent,” Mike Duke, president and chief executive officer, said in a statement.

“I’m confident about our long-term strategy and the direction Wal-Mart is headed,” he added. “Our expectations about our U.S. businesses’ performance, coupled with more discipline in international, will allow us to improve our performance throughout the year.”

According to Duke, Internet sales grew more than 30 percent in the first quarter compared with the first quarter of last year.

Stock buyback

During its latest first quarter, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. repurchased approximately 30 million shares of its stock at a cost of about $2.2 billion. In addition, the company paid $1.6 billion in dividends.