Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. Surges On Strong Earnings, Outlook

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Wal-Mart released its latest earnings report before opening bell this morning, posting earnings of 98 cents per share on $115.9 billion in sales. Analysts had been expecting earnings per share of 88 cents on $113.21 billion in revenue. In last year’s first quarter, the big box retailer reported $1.03 per share in earnings on $114.83 billion in sales.

Wal-Mart’s same store sales beat expectations

The company said U.S. same store sales climbed 1% during the quarter, beating the consensus of an 0.5% increase. It was the seventh quarter in a row in which comparable store sales increased in the U.S. and the sixth in which traffic in the U.S. increased, rising 1.5%. Comparable store sales in Neighborhood Market locations surged by about 7.1% as customer experience scores continued improving. Sam’s Club net sales increased to $13.61 billion

E-commerce sales grew 7%, while gross merchandise volume climbed 7.5% during the quarter. Wal-Mart International net sales grew 4.3% in constant currency to $31.6 billion. Excluding currency fluctuations, international sales amounted to $31.6 billion, while Wal-Mart sales grew to $73.3 billion.

“We are pleased to see the U.S. comp result, strong performance outside the U.S., membership trends in Sam’s Club and EPS results versus guidance,” said Wal-Mart President and Chief Executive Officer Doug McMillon in a statement. “In addition, we are focused on building the ecommerce capabilities we need to drive growth to a higher level and deliver the seamless shopping experience for customers they desire. Another highlight is the improved inventory position that contributed to strong cash flow performance. We’re off to a good start for the year. ”

Wal-Mart issues strong guidance

Management expects second quarter earnings to be between 95 cents and $1.08 per share, compared to the consensus of 98 cents per share. They expect U.S. comparable store sales to grow 1% for Wal-Mart and be “slightly positive” for Sam’s Club stores, not counting fuel sales.

Shares of Wal-Mart stock soared in premarket trading, climbing by as much as 9.04% to $68.85 per share following this morning’s strong earnings report.

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