Consumer caution crimps Wal-Mart's second quarter earnings
BENTONVILLE, ARK. — Income for Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. was up 1.3% during the second quarter, yet results were pressured as consumers dealt with higher payroll taxes and gas prices.
“While I’m disappointed in our comp sales decline, I'm encouraged by the improvement in traffic and comp sales as we progressed through the quarter,” said Bill Simon, president and chief executive officer of Walmart U.S. “The 2% payroll tax increase continues to impact our customer. Furthermore, we also expected an increase in the level of grocery inflation, which did not materialize in a meaningful way.
“We also continued to gain market share across several categories. According to The Nielsen Company, we gained 14 basis points of market share in the measured category of 'food, consumables and health and wellness/O.T.C.' during the 13-weeks ending July 20.”
For the quarter ended July 31, the company had an income of $4,069 million, equal to $1.24 per share on the common stock, which compared with $4,016 million, equal to $1.19 per share, during the same quarter of the previous year. Sales for the quarter were $116,216 million, up 2% from $113,520 million during the same quarter of the previous year.
“We delivered a solid increase in earnings per share for the second quarter,” said Mike Duke, president and c.e.o. “Consolidated net sales and our Walmart U.S. comp were below expectations. While the retail environment was challenging across all our markets, the Walmart U.S. and Sam’s Club businesses improved comp sales from the first quarter, and the growth of international sales was consistent.”
The Walmart U.S. segment had an operating income of $5,521 million, up 5% from $5,248 million during the same period of the previous year. Sales for the segment were $68,728 million, up 2% from $67,343 million during the same quarter of the previous year.
The Walmart International segment had operating income of $1,465 million, down 1% from $1,484 million during the same period of the previous year. The segment had sales of $32,956 million, up 3% from $32,016 million during the same quarter of the previous year.
For the six months ended July 31, the company as a whole saw income rise 1% to $7,853 million, equal to $2.39 per share, which compared with $7,758 million, equal to $2.28 per share, during the same period of the previous year. Sales for the six months were $229,645 million, up 2% from $225,784 million during the same period of the previous year.
The company also lowered its full-year earnings per share guidance to the range of $5.10 to $5.30 per share, down from the previous guidance of $5.20 to $5.40.