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    Wal-Mart Makes 'Solid Start' in Q1, but Q2 Outlook Not so Good

    Sales jumped 10.2 percent, while comps at the Wal-Mart Stores U.S. division hopped 2.7 percent.

    Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. yesterday posted a 10.2 percent jump in sales for the quarter ended April 30, but the retailer extended a cautious outlook for the quarter ahead.

    Net sales for the first quarter of fiscal year 2009 were approximately $94.1 billion, compared to $85.4 billion for the same period last year. Net income was $3.022 billion, up 6.9 percent from $2.826 billion for the same period in fiscal 2008.

    "We're off to a solid start, with record first quarter sales and earnings," said Lee Scott, Wal-Mart Stores president and c.e.o. "Our business is even more relevant to our customers today, given the current economic pressures."

    Price leadership, better customer service, and operational improvements remained the primary drivers of sales growth worldwide, even in light of economic headwinds caused by higher energy costs and food inflation, Scott said.

    Sales at the Wal-Mart Stores U.S. division (including Wal-Mart's namesake stores and Neighborhood Markets) were $59 billion -- a 6.6 percent increase from last year. Sam's Club saw a slightly higher 7.6 percent lift in sales.

    Comparable store sales were up 2.7 percent at the Wal-Mart Stores U.S. division, while Sam's Club saw a 3.6 percent jump in comps.

    For the second quarter of fiscal year 2009, Wal-Mart estimated that its comparable store sales will be between flat and two percent.

    "It is currently difficult to quantify the impact on U.S. sales from the stimulus payments," said Tom Schoewe, Wal-Mart e.v.p. and c.f.o. "We expect the company's earnings per share for the second quarter to be between $0.78 and $0.81."

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