Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) released the earnings results from its third fiscal quarter before opening bell this morning, posting earnings of $1.15 per share, a .9% increase year over year, on $118.1 billion in revenue, a 2.8% improvement year over year. Analysts had been looking for earnings of $1.12 per share on $118.37 billion in revenue. In the same quarter last year, Wal-Mart reported earnings of $1.14 per share on $114.9 billion in revenue.
Key metrics from Wal-Mart’s earnings report
The big box retailer reported a .5% increase in U.S. comparable store sales, marking its first positive comparable store sales in the last seven quarters. For the Neighborhood Market stores, comparable store sales rose by about 5.5%. Net sales in the U.S. increased by 3.4%, or $2.3 billion, to about $70 billion. International net sales rose 1.7% to $33.7 billion.
Comparable store sales for Sam’s Club, not counting fuel sales, rose .4%. Membership income increased 10.1% for the quarter. Global ecommerce sales improved by about 21% on a constant currency basis.
“We had a solid third quarter, once again growing operating income faster than sales, and we gained share in most of our largest markets,” Wal-Mart International President and CEO David Cheesewright said in a statement. “I’m excited about the steps we’ve taken to accelerate growth in e-commerce, including the launch of new expanded assortments and services in Mexico and China. We also expanded the number of collection points for online customers in the U.K. and China.”
Wal-Mart cuts guidance
Wal-Mart also lowered its full year guidance to between $4.92 and $5.02 per share. That includes a negative 3 cent per share impact in connection with the closing of underperforming stores in Japan. The previous guidance was for earnings of between $4.90 and $5.15 per share.
For the fourth quarter, the big box retailer expects earnings of between $1.46 and $1.56 per share, including a 3 cent per share negative impact from the closing of the stores in Japan. Wal-Mart expects fourth fiscal quarter comparable store sales in the U.S. to be flat or rise by 1% year over year.
The fourth fiscal quarter ends on Jan. 30, and the company will report comparable sales for the quarter on Feb. 19 along with its fourth quarter and full year earnings results.