Wal-Mart Stores’ profit falls 4.2%, but U.S. sales on the rise

Bentonville, Ark. — Wal-Mart Stores Inc.’s fiscal fourth-quarter profit dropped 4.2% on higher costs, but its U.S. business continued to draw in more shoppers.

Net income was $5.16 billion in the three months ended Jan. 31, compared with $6.05 billion in the year-ago period.

Net sales, excluding membership fees from its Sam’s Club division, rose 5.8% to $122.3 billion. International sales rose 13%, and U.S. sales rose 2.4%.

The company’s namesake U.S. business had a 1.5% in same-store sales, its second consecutive quarterly gain. The company noted that it saw an increase in customer traffic, reversing more than several years of declines in customer counts.

“We are pleased with Walmart¹s earnings performance for both the fourth quarter and the full year,” said Mike Duke, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. president and CEO. “Today, every segment of our business is stronger than it was a year ago, and we’re in a great position for fiscal year 2013.”

Duke said Walmart would continue to lower prices in the coming year and that positive trends will continue.

“Core customers remain cautious about their finances,” he said. “They rely on Walmart’s [everyday low price] promise to help them manage through today’s economic challenges.”

For the year, Walmart¹s sales increased 5.9% to $443.9 billion. During the year, Walmart added 119 supercenters and 27 small formats for a total of 9.6 million new sq. ft.

In 2012, between 210 and 235 new units are planned with 80 to 100 of those being small formats, primarily Neighborhood Markets.

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