Wal-Mart Earnings Jump 10% in Q1

U.S. sales up 5.9% while international market increased 15%

Wal-Mart posted a surge in first quarter earnings on May 17, rebounding on account of steady U.S. sales growth and strong contributions from Mexico after a fall in the previous period.

Net income for the period to April 27 rose 10.1% from a year earlier to $3.74 billion, while earnings per share for the company, the world's largest retailer, at $1.10 were up 13.4%, better than analysts had forecast.

Net sales were up 8.6% to $112.3 billion, with the main domestic retailing arm Wal-Mart US contributing $66.3 billion (up 5.9%) and the international arm adding $32 billion, up 15%. The Sam's Club membership sales outlets added $13.9 billion.

Wal-Mart credited sales growth in Mexico, where it has its largest number of stores outside the United States but also faces bribery allegations, Brazil and Britain for the strongest growth internationally.

The retail behemoth came under pressure in the first quarter after scrutiny in the United States and Mexico over allegations it had paid $24 million in bribes in Mexico to help aid its rapid expansion in that market in the 2000s.

Wal-Mart said the allegations are more than six years old and it has already taken action to prevent any possible recurrence.

In the United States, comparable store sales grew a steady 2.6%, better than the expected 2%.

"In a highly competitive retail environment, Wal-Mart U.S. is increasing price separation across categories and driving increased traffic to both the grocery and general merchandise areas of our stores," said chief executive Mike Duke.

"Wal-Mart International delivered strong sales growth in the first quarter, and operating income grew faster than sales," he added.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2012

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