Wal-Mart profit up, U.S. same-store sales fall

By Reuters
Tuesday, August 16, 2011 7:48 EDT
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CHICAGO (Reuters) – Sales at Wal-Mart Stores Inc’s U.S. discount stores open at least a year fell 0.9 percent during its second quarter, marking the ninth straight quarterly decline as it tries to lure back bargain hunters.

The world’s largest retailer said on Tuesday that it earned $1.09 per share from continuing operations, up from 97 cents a year earlier and near the high end of its forecast of $1.05 to $1.10.

Excluding a decline in the market value of currency derivatives, acquisition costs and other items, earnings were $1.12, compared with the average analyst estimate of $1.08, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

In May, Wal-Mart said same-store sales at the Walmart chain in the United States, excluding fuel, would be down 1 percent to up 1 percent. Analysts, on average, were expecting a decline of 0.6 percent, according to Thomson Reuters data.

Strong sales at its smaller Sam’s Club warehouse clubs and international stores have helped mitigate the impact of a slump in sales at the U.S. Walmart chain.
Still, the U.S. Walmart business is the company’s biggest by far, accounting for $260.3 billion, or 62.1 percent of sales in fiscal 2011.

That business has seen customers move to even lower-priced dollar stores as unemployment remains high and inflation cuts into people’s spending power.

(Reporting by Jessica Wohl and Brad Dorfman. Editing by Robert MacMillan)

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