US: Wal-Mart posts fourth quarter profit growth
- Q4 net profit rose 8.6% to $5.6bn
- Revenue up 3.9% to $127.1bn
- Full-year profit increased 8.3% to $16.9bn
Wal-Mart recorded an 8.6% increase in net income over the quarter to reach $5.6bn
Wal-Mart has recorded an increase in fourth-quarter profit as sales grew and the company benefited from a lower than expected tax rate.
The world's largest retailer today (21 February) posted a 8.6% increase in net income over the quarter ended 31 January to reach US$5.6bn, up from $5.1bn in the prior year period. Revenue rose 3.9% to reach $127.1bn.
Over the quarter, international sales grew 6.9% to $37.9bn. US sales grew 2.6% to US$74.6bn, rising 1%, excluding fuel, on a comparable basis.
"We are confident that our low prices will continue to resonate, as families adjust to a reduced paycheck and increased gas prices," said Wal-Mart US president and CEO Bill Simon. "We see the underlying health of the Walmart US business is sound, and sales trends are similar to what we've demonstrated in the last few quarters."
However, he admitted that February sales have started slower than planned, which he attributed to the delay in income tax refunds.
"We began seeing increased tax refund check activity late last week in our stores, resulting in a more normalised weekly sales pattern for this time of the year.
"Due to the slower sales rate in the first few weeks of this year's first quarter, we are forecasting comp sales for the 13-week period from 26 January to 26 April to be around flat.
"We continue to monitor economic conditions that can impact our sales, such as rising fuel prices, changes in inflation and the payroll tax increase," he added.
Wal-Mart president and CEO Mike Duke added: "Walmart topped off a really good year with a solid fourth quarter, and I'm proud of what we accomplished as a team.
"Every day, our associates around the world deliver on our mission to help customers save money so they can live better. Together, we added $22bn in sales to top $466bn. Walmart US was a key driver of our five percent net sales increase."
Over the full year, the company saw net income increase 8.3% to reach $16.9bn as sales rose 5% to $466.1bn. International sales rose 7.4% to $135.2bn, as its US division recorded 3.9% sales growth to reach $274.5bn.
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