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Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. second quarter earnings surpassed analysts' expectations but same store sales declined 1.2 percent vs. a 4.3 percent gain a year earlier, prompting it to take a conservative outlook for the third quarter same store sales expectations of 2 percent.
During the period ended July 31, Wal-Mart earned $3.44 billion, or 88 cents per share, while revenue fell 1.4 percent to $100.08 billion. The company's international sales also fell 5 percent on the impact of currency exchange rates. But on a constant currency basis, international sales increased 11.5 percent.
"In a sales environment more difficult than we expected, we managed our operations in a disciplined manner,” said Mike Duke, Walmart’s president and CEO. “Our U.S. segments delivered strong inventory performance, which contributed to the company's healthy increase in year-over-year earnings," said Duke, adding that the Bentonville, Ark.-based mega-retailer is “accelerating our focus on reducing our expenses.
Customers around the world are forced to do more with less and they rely on Walmart to help them save money. The improvements in our stores are attracting new customers and keeping the loyalty of the millions who shop with us. We are confident about Walmart's long-term future and ability to build on its leadership position."
Looking ahead, Walmart said it expects its US comp sales during the 13-week period from Saturday, Aug. 1 through Friday, Oct. 30 to be between flat and two percent alongside flat/plus or minus one percent expectations for Sam's Club sales during the same period. The company will issue third quarter earnings on Nov. 12.