Walmart reported lower-than-expected sales for the third quarter, as declining traffic at its Walmart U.S. division triggered a 0.3% decrease in comparable-store sales.


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Walmart sales disappoint, management trims outlook

November 14th, 2013

BENTONVILLE, Ark. – Walmart reported lower-than-expected sales for the third quarter, as declining traffic at its Walmart U.S. division triggered a 0.3% decrease in comparable-store sales.

Management consequently scaled back its full-year earnings outlook for the second time in three months.

Consolidated net sales for the quarter rose 1.6% to $114.88 billion, well short of the $116.8 billion average projection among analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters.

Income from continuing operations increased 2.8% to $3.73 billion, or $1.14 per diluted share, which beat analysts’ average estimate by a penny.

Total domestic comparable-store sales slipped 0.1%, driven by the decline in the Walmart U.S. segment. Customer traffic at the Walmart U.S. unit, which includes Supercenters, discount stores, supermarkets (mainly under the Neighborhood Market banner) and small-format outlets, decreased 0.4%, offsetting a 0.1% increase in the average transaction.

E-commerce sales had a positive 0.2% impact on comp-store results.

Sam’s Club, meanwhile, reported a 1.1% increase in comparable-store sales, driven by a 2.4% lift in customer traffic that offset a 1.3% dip in average transaction.

Both Walmart U.S. and Sam’s Club reported solid growth in operating income. Profit at the Walmart U.S. division rose 5.8% to $5.12 billion, while Sam’s Club achieved a 9.2% increase (excluding fuel) to $474 million.

“Overall, the quarter started slower than we’ve liked, but comp sales picked up in September and October,” said Bill Simon, president and chief executive officer of Walmart U.S., in a prerecorded call.

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