Wal-Mart Delivers Cautious Sales Outlook

Wal-Mart Stores on Tuesday reported quarterly earnings that slightly exceeded analyst estimates, but cited a tough economy while providing a cautious outlook for the second quarter.

BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Wal-Mart Stores on Tuesday reported quarterly earnings that slightly exceeded analyst estimates, but cited a tough economy while providing a cautious outlook for the second quarter. “While there is potential for short-term impact from the stimulus checks in the United States, it is currently difficult to quantify what impact this money could have on Wal-Mart’s sales,” Lee Scott, chief executive officer, said in a prerecorded remarks. Wal-Mart said sales of food, health and beauty, and entertainment items were strong during the quarter, but that consumers were discriminating beyond basic needs as inflation and high fuel prices curbed spending. Net sales of $94.1 billion increased 10.2%, with U.S. sales of $59.1 billion improving by 6.6%. Comp sales in the U.S. were up by 2.9% excluding fuel. Earnings of $3.02 billion, or 76 cents a share, improved 6.7%. Wal-Mart said earnings in the second quarter would be around 78 cents, at the low end of analyst estimates, while same-store sales will be flat to 2%,

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