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    Wal-Mart Reports Record 1Q Earnings; Cites Gasoline Concerns

    BENTONVILLE, Ark. - Wal-Mart Stores Inc. today reported record first-quarter earnings and sales for the quarter ended April 30, 2004. Net sales were $64.8 billion, an increase of 14.2 percent over the first quarter of fiscal 2004.

    BENTONVILLE, Ark. - Wal-Mart Stores Inc. today reported record first-quarter earnings and sales for the quarter ended April 30, 2004. Net sales were $64.8 billion, an increase of 14.2 percent over the first quarter of fiscal 2004.

    Income from continuing operations for the quarter was $2.2 billion, an increase of 18.4 percent from $1.8 billion in the first quarter of fiscal 2004. Earnings per share from continuing operations were $0.50, up from $0.41 per share in the same prior year quarter.

    "I am encouraged by the strengthening economy and the improving apparel environment," Lee Scott, president and c.e.o., said in a statement. "Although I remain concerned about the impact higher gasoline and petroleum prices will have on our customers, I am still optimistic about the balance of the year."

    Sales at the company's namesake Wal-Mart stores increased 12.8 percent for the quarter, while sales at Sam's Club increased 10.5 percent. Sales in the International division were up 22.1 percent. Total U.S. same store sales increased 6.4 percent, with Wal-Mart Stores seeing a 5.9 percent increase and Sam's Club seeing an 8.8 percent hike.

    For the first quarter, the Wal-Mart Stores segment, including Supercenters, had operating profit (profit before interest, unallocated corporate expenses, and income taxes) of $3.121 billion, an increase of 13.4 percent compared with $2.752 billion in the first quarter of fiscal 2004. The Sam's Club segment had an operating profit for the quarter of $267 million, an increase of 30.9 percent compared with $204 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2004. The International segment had an operating profit of $563 million for the most recent quarter, an increase of 46.6 percent compared with $384 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2004.

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