• Q2 net profit up 1.3% to US$4.1bn
  • Net sales rise 2.4% to $116.2bn
  • Apparel boosts “disappointing” US performance

World’s biggest retailer Wal-Mart Stores posted an underwhelming set of second quarter results, with US comparable store sales flat despite a slight overall profit increase.

The company downgraded its full-year sales and earnings forecasts, predicting net sales to rise 2-3% (versus its previous guidance of up 5-6%) and earnings per share of $5.10-5.30, down from $5.20-5.40 previously.

US sales rose 2.1% to $68.7bn, international revenues were up 2.9% to $32.96bn, and Sam’s Club sales increased 2.6% to $14.53bn, in the three months to 31 July.

Walmart US president and CEO Bill Simon singled out apparel for praise after the category recorded a low single-digit positive comp figure in the period, while apparel was also a plus for Sam’s Club.

Company president and CEO Mike Duke admitted that sales and US comps had fallen below expectations, but added: “While the retail environment was challenging across all of our markets, the Walmart US and Sam’s Club businesses improved comp sales from the first quarter, and the growth of International sales was consistent.

“I’m encouraged by our position to execute in the second half of the year, particularly with the steps we’re taking to improve performance.

“There are areas of our business where we can do a better job, and we will.”