Wal-Mart Stores, the world's largest retailer, reported second-quarter profit that rose 5.7 per cent and boosted its forecast for the year as the company maintained sales at its US stores.
Net income climbed to $3.8 billion (Dh13.95 billion), or $1.09 a share, from $3.6 billion, or 97 cents, a year earlier, Bentonville, Arkansas-based Wal-Mart said on Tuesday in a statement.
The average estimate of 21 analysts in a Bloomberg survey was $1.08 a share. Revenue rose 5.4 per cent to $109.4 billion.
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Chief executive officer Mike Duke is boosting the number of smaller stores and expanding Wal-Mart's internet presence to combat fewer US customer visits. The merchant has also restored thousands of products to shelves to lure shoppers coping with high unemployment and fuel prices.
Those changes "should provide a good base to return same-store sales into positive territory," Bob Summers, an analyst at Susquehanna Financial Group, wrote in a note yesterday. He has a "positive" rating on the stock.
Second-quarter sales at US stores open at least a year were unchanged from a year earlier, excluding fuel, Wal-Mart said. Those sales had fallen in the eight previous quarters.
Those stores had 82.8 million fewer visits through the first five months of the company's fiscal year than a year earlier, according to a company memo obtained by Bloomberg News.
Wal-Mart said profit in its current fiscal year would be $4.41 to $4.51 a share, up from a previous projection of $4.35 to $4.50. The average estimate of 25 analysts in a Bloomberg survey was $4.47. For the current quarter, the company forecast profit of 95 cents to $1 a share, excluding some items.
Wal-Mart rose 17 cents to $50.15 in trading before the open of the New York Stock Exchange. The shares had dropped 7.3 per cent this year before Tuesday's announcement.