Wal-Mart reported consolidated net income attributable to the company of $4.1 billion, or $1.24 a share, missing by a penny the consensus estimate among analysts polled by Thomson Reuters. Wal-Mart said earnings were lowered by approximately 1 cent "due to a charge for a certain non-income tax matter recorded in operating expenses within Walmart International."
Net sales also came in slightly below expectations at $116.2 billion, up 2% from the year-earlier period for the Bentonville, Ark.-based retailer. Total revenue, which includes Sam's Club membership revenue and other income, rose 2.3% to $116.9 billion. Analysts had forecast revenue of $118.6 billion for the giant retailer.
Wal-Mart shares were down 2.4% to $74.55 before the markets opened.Wal-Mart said U.S. comparable store sales declined 0.3% in the 13-week period ending July 26, 2013. The company also said that comparable store traffic in its U.S. stores, while negative, improved approximately 130 basis points from the first quarter, fueled by gains in food, consumables and health and wellness categories. Sam's Club comparable store sales, excluding fuel, rose 1.7% in the quarter. Sales from Wal-Mart International rose 2.9% $33 billion. Wal-Mart cut its full-year EPS guidance. It now expects EPS for all of 2013 to range between $5.10 and $5.30, compared its previous guidance of to $5.20 and $5.40. The company expects to earn between $1.11 and $1.16 a share in the third quarter and expects comp sales in the U.S. for the October-ending quarter to be flat. "We delivered a solid increase in earnings per share for the second quarter," Wal-Mart's President and CEO Mike Duke said in the earnings release. "Consolidated net sales and our Walmart U.S. comp were below expectations. While the retail environment was challenging across all of our markets, the Walmart U.S. and Sam's Club businesses improved comp sales from the first quarter, and the growth of International sales was consistent."