Wal-Mart 3Q profit rises; pressure still on in US

NEW YORK (AP) — Wal-Mart Stores Inc. reported a 9.3 percent increase in third-quarter net income as the world’s largest retailer benefits from cost controls and a robust international business.

The company also raised its full-year quarter profit outlook, but total revenue at U.S. Walmart stores fell as fewer customers visited and spent less when they did. Revenue at stores open at least a year also fell, for the sixth quarter in a row, underscoring the challenges of its U.S. business as many customers struggle economically.

The company posted net income of $3.44 billion, or 95 cents per share, in the quarter ended Oct. 31. That’s up from $3.14 billion, or 81 cents per share, in last year’s third quarter.

Excluding a tax benefit, the company earned 90 cents per share, which matched estimates from a survey of analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters.

Revenue reached $101.24 billion, below the estimate of $102.25 billion.

Revenue at stores open at least a year slipped 0.7 percent, dragged down by a 1.3 percent drop at U.S. Walmart stores. The decline is worse than analysts’ estimates for a 0.4 percent decrease. The measure rose 2.4 percent at its Sam’s Club chain.

“Walmart U.S. will be the price leader this holiday season, and I am confident about improving (comparable sales) for the fourth quarter,” Mike Duke, president and CEO, said in a statement.

The company said it expects revenue at stores opened at least a year for its U.S. Walmart business to be anywhere from down 1 percent to up 2 percent in the fourth quarter.

It also predicted that earnings per share for the full year will range from $4.08 per share to $4.12 per share. That’s up from $3.95 per share to $4.05 per share. Analysts expected $4.02.

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