New York: Wal-Mart Stores Inc. on Thursday reported second-quarter income virtually unchanged from a year ago, but results beat Wall Street expectations.
The world’s largest retailer also raised the low end of its profit outlook as it benefits from a series of cost-cutting moves and draws frugal shoppers away from rivals.
Wal-Mart earned $3.44 billion, or 88 cents per share, in the quarter ended 31 July. That compares with $3.45 billion,or 87 cents per share, in the year-ago period. Revenue fell 1.4% to $100.08 billion.
Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters projected earnings per share of 85 cents on revenues of $102.9 billion.
Wal-Mart shares rose $1.11 to $51.62 in premarket trading, after closing at $50.51 Wednesday.
But same-store sales, or sales at stores opened at least a year, slipped 1.2% during the period. That figure provided the first glimpse of the company’s key sales performance to analysts, because Wal-Mart stopped reporting those figures on a monthly basis after announcing April results.
“In a sales environment more difficult than we expected, we managed our operations in a disciplined manner,” Mike Duke, president and chief executive, said in a statement. “Our US segments delivered strong inventory performance, which contributed to the company’s healthy increase in year-over-year earnings. We are accelerating our focus on reducing our expenses.”
Wal-Mart boosted the low end of its annual profit guidance to a range of $3.50 to $3.60 per share, from $3.45 to $3.60 per share. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters predict $3.56 per share.
For the third quarter, Wal-Mart expects earnings per share between 78 cents and 82 cents per share, including a 3-cent negative impact from currency exchange rates.