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Bentonville, Ark. – Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. has lowered the same-stores sales guidance it previously released for fourth quarter 2013 due to factors including severe winter weather and reduced governmental assistance to consumers. Wal-Mart U.S. guidance for the fourth quarter previously projected same-store sales without fuel to be relatively Sam’s Club same-store sales without fuel to be between flat and up 2%.
However, Wal-Mart now expects both Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club same-store sales for the fourth quarter to come in slightly below previous expectations. The retailer said Wal-Mart’s results were affected by the greater than anticipated impact from the reduction in SNAP (the U.S. government Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) benefits on Nov. 1, as well as eight named winter storms that resulted in store closures that impacted traffic throughout the quarter. Sam’s Club same-store sales were also affected by adverse weather.
In addition, Wal-Mart says fourth quarter earnings per share will come in at or slightly below the low end of its range of $1.60 to $1.70. For the full year, Wal-Mart expects underlying earnings per share to be at or slightly below the low end of its range of $5.11 to $5.21. The retailer cited mitigating factors including store closures in Brazil and China, the cost of registering a new company in India, and restructuring Sam’s Club and closing some Sam’s Club stores in the lowering of its earnings per share guidance.