Fourth-quarter earnings at retailing
giant Wal-Mart Stores Inc. surpassed $2 billion for the first time
ever, beating Wall Street's expectations despite what the company
called a "challenging retail environment."
For the three months ended Jan. 31, Wal-Mart earned $2.004
billion, or 45 cents per share, up 4.5 percent from $1.92 billion,
or 43 cents per share, in the year-ago period, the
Bentonville-based company said Tuesday.
Analysts surveyed by First Call/Thomson Financial were expecting
44 cents per share.
Sales jumped 37 percent to $56.56 billion, up from $41.39
Wal-Mart's results come as retailers are struggling to cope with
a slowing domestic economy and plummeting consumer confidence.
Still, officials said that they were relatively pleased with the
"It was a good year, but a year that was not quite up to our
high Wal-Mart expectations," said Lee Scott, Wal-Mart's president
and chief executive.
Sales at Wal-Mart stores open more than a year rose 3 percent,
while sales at its Sam's Club warehouse division rose 3.3 percent.
For the year ended Jan. 31, Wal-Mart earned $6.30 billion, or
$1.40 per share, on sales of $193.30 billion. In the previous
fiscal year, Wal-Mart earned $5.38 billion, or $1.20 per share, on
sales of $166.81 billion.
Wal-Mart operates more than 3,100 stores in the United States as
well as more than 1,000 stores in nine other countries.