Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Wal-Mart Beats the Street

Wal-Mart Stores posted a quarterly profit that beat Wall Street forecasts, helped by higher U.S. sales at its namesake discount stores, and said it expected to continue to perform better than its competitors.

The world's largest retailer saw U.S. sales rise 6% in the quarter as it attracted more shoppers trying to save money in the recession. International sales slid 8.4% due to a stronger U.S. dollar while sales at its Sam's Club warehouse clubs were flat.

"Our performance relative to competitors was exceptionally strong in the fourth quarter and throughout the year," Chief Executive Mike Duke said in a statement. "We expect this momentum to continue."

Profit fell to $3.79 billion, or 96 cents per share, for its fiscal fourth quarter that ended January 31, from $4.096 billion, or $1.02 share, a year ago.

Excluding a 7 cent charge per share for the settlement of class-action lawsuits, earnings came to $1.03 per share. Analysts, on average, had expected the company to earn 99 cents per share, according to Reuters Estimates.

Net sales rose 1.7 percent to $108 billion.

Last month, Wal-Mart forecast earnings per share from continuing operations of 91 to 94 cents, down from an original view of $1.03 to $1.07. It said results would be hurt by a stronger U.S. dollar, a settlement for class-action lawsuits and weaker-than-expected sales in certain divisions.

It also said that for the new fiscal year it expects first- quarter earnings of 72 to 77 cents per share, with full-year earnings of $3.45 and $3.60. Analysts had forecast 77 cents per share for the first quarter and $3.57 for the year.

Source: Reuters

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