Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. Posts In-Line EPS, Cuts Guidance

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) released its latest quarterly report before opening bell this morning, posting adjusted earnings of $1.21 per share on $119.34 billion in sales. Analysts had been expecting to see earnings of $1.21 per share on $119.1 billion in revenue. In the same quarter a year ago, the big box retail chain reported $1.23 per share in adjusted earnings and net earnings were $1.26 per share.

Breaking down Wal-Mart’s earnings report

Wal-Mart reported that comparable sales in the U.S. were flat for the 13 weeks that ended on Aug. 1. Comparable sales for the retail chain’s Neighborhood Market format increased by about 5.6%. U.S. net sales rose 2.7% to more than $70 billion. Wal-Mart’s international operation saw a 3.1% increase, bringing sales to $33.9 billion.

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Sam’s Club comparable sales, not counting fuel, were flat. The retail chain saw an 11.9% increase in membership income growth. Global ecommerce sales rose about 24%, including double-digit growth in the U.S., U.K., Brazil and China.

Wal-Mart cuts guidance, guides soft for Q3

In this morning’s report, Wal-Mart also reduced its full year earnings per share guidance from between $5.10 and $5.45 per share to between $4.90 and $5.15 per share. For the current quarter, the big box retail chain expects earnings to be between $1.10 and $1.20 per share, compared to Wall Street’s estimate of $1.18 per share. Wal-Mart said its new guidance includes investments in ecommerce and higher-than-expected healthcare costs in the U.S.

“We see opportunities to improve in merchandising, pricing and store level service in our supercenters, and we are working to close those gaps,” said Wal-Mart President and CEO Doug McMillon in a statement. “Our investments in e-commerce and mobile are very important, as the lines between digital and physical retail continue to blur. Our customers expect a seamless experience, and we’re working to deliver that for them around the world.”

The guidance also assumes about a 34 effective tax rate for the current quarter and an annual effective tax rate of between 32% and 34%.