Wal-Mart Profit Up 3%

Mexico, China and Chile had the highest percentage sales increases for the first quarter compared to last year.

Wal-Mart, the world's biggest retailer, said on May 18 that international sales drove profit higher to $3.4 billion in the first quarter, offsetting weakness in its home market in the United States.

The profit for the January-April period represented an increase of 3% from $3.3 billion during the same quarter a year earlier.

"International remains the key growth driver for our company, and the segment is seeing continued growth through a combination of comp (comparable) sales and new stores," Wal-Mart chief executive Mike Duke said.

"Mexico, China and Chile had the highest percentage sales increases for the first quarter compared to last year."

Revenues rose 4.4% from the year-ago period to $104.19 billion.

Net sales also grew by 4.4%, to $103.4 billion, led by international sales which soared 11.5% from a year earlier to $27.9 billion.

Overseas sales included a $1.3 billion currency exchange rate benefit and a $51 million charge for losses in Japan due to the March 11 earthquake and tsunami disaster.

Wal-Mart's U.S. division managed a 0.6% rise in sales to $62.67 billion as American consumers grappled with soaring food and energy costs.

Duke acknowledged "we still have work to do" and said growth in comp sales -- sales in stores open at least a year -- remained his greatest priority.

Sam's Club, a members-only discount chain, posted a 9.4% rise in sales to $12.84 billion.


Wal-Mart said the second quarter was expected to deliver improved results both in the U.S. and internationally, assuming that currency exchange rates remain at current levels.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2011

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