Walmart Post Records Q1 Earnings

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Walmart Post Records Q1 Earnings

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. yesterday reported record first-quarter fiscal 2011 sales and earnings for the period ended April 30, 2010, with net sales of $99.1 billion, an increase of 6.0 percent from the $93.5 billion logged last year. Meanwhile, income from continuing operations attributable to Walmart for the quarter grew to $3.3 billion, from $3.0 billion in year-ago period.

Said Wal-Mart Stores president and CEO Mike Duke: “Our teams around the world delivered on our commitment to the productivity loop. We leveraged operating expenses for the second consecutive quarter and improved the profitability of our business.

Noting that “[o]ur customers, particularly in the United States, are still concerned about their personal finances and unemployment, as well as higher fuel prices,” Duke observed that the Bentonville, Ark.-based mega-retailer’s “commitment to reducing prices and managing expenses positions us well across the retail landscape.”

According to the company, Walmart will continue to expand globally, with a considerable number of store openings expected during the second and third quarters, after adding 3.6 million square feet of retail selling space during the first quarter.

Walmart International remained the company’s fastest-growing segment, with net sales for the quarter up over 21 percent on a reported basis and nearly 9 percent on a constant currency basis. Walmart U.S. comparable-store sales for the quarter fell 1.4 percent, and Sam’s Club posted an increase in comps, without fuel, of 0.7 percent. Consolidated operating income for the company as a whole in the first quarter was $5.8 billion, an increase of 10 percent from last year, with a significant contribution from Walmart U.S.

The company ended the quarter with return on investment of 19.1 percent for the trailing 12 months ended April 30, 2010, a rise from 18.7 percent last year.

For its second quarter, Walmart forecasts earnings per share from continuing operations attributable to Walmart to range from 93cents to 98 cents, vs. $0.88 per share last year and assuming that currency exchange rates remain at current levels.

According to EVP and CFO Tom Schoewe, “We remain on track to deliver solid growth, operating leverage and superior returns.”

In fact, based on the growth posted in the first quarter of fiscal 2011, Schoewe noted that “we are confirming our initial capital spending guidance of $13 billion to $15 billion this year, as we continue to invest in new stores and remodeling our existing stores and clubs.”

In other Walmart news, the company said yesterday that families could save over $700 million this summer across all grocery categories through its ongoing, aggressive “Rollbacks” program. Among the price reductions available to shoppers are “deep Rollbacks” on a basket of 22 food favorites and staple items, offered for an average savings of 30 percent off Walmart’s everyday low price.

“Our aggressive Rollbacks program is part of our commitment to save people money by creating hundreds of millions of dollars in savings for American families on the things that matter most such as grocery items,” explained Jack Sinclair, EVP of grocery at Walmart U.S. “We’ve also focused our deep Rollbacks on favorite pantry essentials, which have resulted in the most significant Rollbacks in the company’s history.”

Employing more than 2 million associates worldwide, Wal-Mart Stores operates 8,400 retail units under 55 banners in 15 countries.