Wal-Mart Profit Tops Estimates, but Guidance Is Trimmed
Wal-Mart reported quarterly earnings on Thursday that xceeded analysts' estimates, but revenue fell short of the consensus.
The retail giant's shares dropped before the opening bell, following the news. (Click here to get real-time quotes for Wal-Mart.)
The company earned $3.63 billion, or $1.08 per share, in the quarter ended Oct. 31. That compares with $3.33 billion, or 96 cents per share, in the year-earlier period.
Revenue improved to $113.93 billion from $110.23 billion a year ago. Sales were negatively impacted by exchange-rate fluctuations, the company said. Without the currency impact, sales would have been $114.9 billion, the company said.
Wall Street had expected Wal-Mart o report earnings excluding items of $1.07 a share on $114.96 billion in revenue, according to Thomson Reuters consensus estimates.
U.S. same-store sales rose 1.5 percent, well shy of the 4.6 percent forecast by Thomson Reuters.
Still, the world's largest retailer also said sales so far this month were better than expected in the U.S. as its focus on low prices has resonated in an economy where unemployment continues to be high.
Wal-Mart narrowed its full-year earnings guidance to $4.88 to $4.93 a share, compared with previous guidance of $4.88 to $4.93 a share. The company earned $4.54 a share in 2011, the company said.
"Current macroeconomic conditions continue to pressure our customers," said Charles Holley, executive vice president and chief financial officer, said in a statement. "The holiday season is predicted to be very competitive, but we are well prepared to deliver on the value and low prices our customers expect."
The currency quarter included about $36 million in pre-tax charges related to damages from super storm Sandy.
More Bribery Allegations Surface
Wal-Mart also announced that additional allegations of bribery have been brought against the company in at least three more countries, including but not limited to Brazil, China, and India.
The retailer is currently being investigated under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) on charges that its largest foreign subsidiary, Wal-Mart de Mexico, paid more than $24 million in bribes in 2005 to win market dominance. (Read More: Wal-Mart in Mexico—Bribe or Operating Procedure?)
"Since the implementation of the global review and the enhanced anti-corruption compliance programs, the company has identified or been made aware of additional allegations regarding potential violations of the FCPA," David Tovar, vice president, Walmart corporate communications, said in a statement. "As these matters are currently under review, it would be inappropriate for us to comment further on the specific allegations until we have concluded the investigations.
To date, the company has spent more than $35 million on its global FCPA compliance review efforts over the past 18 months, the company said.
—Reuters contributed to this article