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Wal-Mart Earnings Rise, Outstrip Wall Street Forecasts

CNBC.com with Reuters
Thursday, 17 May 2012 | 7:45 AM ET

Wal-Mart reported improved quarterly earnings and revenue on Thursday, topping Wall Street analysts' targets on both, as its Wal-Mart U.S. division showed a 2.6 percent rise in sales at stores open at least a year.

AP

The world's biggest retailer benefited from warmer weather and an earlier Easter, turning in a first-quarter profit of $1.09 a share on sales of $112.3 billion, compared with earnings 98 cents a share $103.4 billion for the same quarter a year earlier.

Wal-Mart itself had forecast earnings for the most recent quarter of $1.01 to $1.06 a share.

A consensus estimate compiled by Reuters estimated the mega-merchant's profit at $1.04 a share on sales of $110.5 billion.

Walmart U.S. same-store sales have risen for three straight quarters following nine consecutive quarterly declines. Wal-Mart expected Walmart U.S. same-store sales to be flat to up 2 percent. Analysts, on average, expected them to rise 1.4 percent, according to Thomson Reuters.

Shares of Wal-Mart, which has been rocked recently by allegations of bribery in Mexico, were about 3 percent higher in pre-market trading. Get real-time quotes for Wal-Mart here.

The shares closed slightly lower on Wednesday at $59.19.

Wal-Mart continues to face negative comments from shareholders, employees and activists after a New York Times report on April 21 that Wal-Mart de Mexico, or Walmex, allegedly orchestrated bribes of $24 million to help it grow quickly last decade and that Wal-Mart's top brass tried to cover it up.

The company said it still does not think the bribery investigation will have a material impact on its business, but said it "can provide no assurance that these matters will not be material to its business in the future."

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