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Walmart fourth-quarter profit down, sales up
February 21st, 2012
BENTONVILLE, Ark. – Walmart finished fiscal 2012 with a 3.4% increase in fourth-quarter income from continuing operations to $5.19 billion, or $1.51 per diluted share. Results for the year gained 2.7% to $15.77 billion, or $4.54 per diluted share.
Earnings for the fourth quarter included a net pretax benefit of $68.2 million from the sale of real estate in Brazil as well as a net tax benefit of $187 million. On a per share basis, those items translated into a benefit of 7 cents. Excluding them, adjusted earnings from continuing operations were $1.44 per diluted share, a penny below the consensus estimate of analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters.
Including a $31 million loss from discontinued operations in the most recent quarter and income of $1.03 billion from discontinued operations in the fiscal 2011 period, net income fell 14.7% to $5.16 billion, or $1.50 per share. Full-year net income declined 4.2% to $15.7 billion.
Total revenue for the final quarter rose 5.9% to $123.2 billion and gained 6% to $447.0 billion for fiscal 2012. Walmart International set the pace in terms of percentage growth, as sales for the division jumped 13.1% to $35.49 billion, while Walmart U.S. posted a modest 2.4% increase to $72.79 billion. Excluding benefits from acquisitions and currency exchange, International sales grew 8.5% to $34.1 billion.
Sam’s Club, meanwhile, recorded another solid performance, with sales up 6.8% to $14 billion in the fourth quarter.
Walmart executives were encouraged by the fact that Walmart U.S. reported its second consecutive quarter of comparable-store sales growth, as results rose 1.5%. By comparison, same-store sales for the final quarter of fiscal 2011 decreased 1.8%.
"All three Walmart U.S. geographic units delivered positive comps, reinforcing that our plan is working and resonating with customers," said Bill Simon, president and chief executive officer of Walmart U.S. "Our stores have greater price leadership, broader assortment and improved on-shelf availability. The combination of these factors contributed to positive traffic."
During a prerecorded conference call, Simon said that the chain experienced a “great holiday season.”
Fourth-quarter comparable-store sales for Sam’s Club, expanded 5.4% excluding fuel and rose 6.8% with the gasoline business included.
"These results demonstrate our commitment to delivering growth, leverage and returns for our shareholders," said Walmart president and CEO Mike Duke during a prerecorded conference call. "They also reinforce our belief that Walmart remains the best-positioned global retailer."
Duke added that the company’s core customers remain cautious, and told analysts that Walmart U.S. will continue to invest in lower prices in fiscal 2013.