Wal-Mart's Q1 earnings down, stung by bad weather; offers weak outlook

Bentonville, Ark. -- Wal-Mart Stores posted disappointing results for its first quarter, with earnings down 5% as harsh winter weather kept shoppers away. The company also gave a weak earnings forecast for its current quarter that fell short of analysts' estimates.

For the period ended April 30, Wal-Mart earned $3.59 billion, compared with $3.78 billion a year ago, less than analysts expected. In addition to the unusually harsh winter weather, a higher-than-expected tax rate also hurt earnings, the retailer said.

Total revenue edged up 1% to $114.96 billion. Wall Street expected revenue of $116.43 billion.

Same-stores sales in the United States were down 0.2%, the fifth consecutive quarter of decline for the metric.

"Like other retailers in the United States, the unseasonably cold and disruptive weather negatively impacted U.S. sales and drove operating expenses higher than expected," president and CEO, Wal-Mart said in a statement.

The CEO said that the company’s underlying business is solid, “and I'm confident in our long-term strategies."

"We'll continue to invest in price and enhance our service to improve sales,” McMillon said. “We remain focused on growth across the enterprise, especially in small formats like Neighborhood Market in the U.S."

The company said it was continuing its significant investments in e-commerce initiatives, including its global technology platform, and said sales worldwide rose approximately 27% and noted that e-commerce had a 0.3% favorable impact on same store sales at U.S. stores.

"We have the opportunity to create transformative growth through stronger e-commerce capabilities," McMillon said. "Our investments are focused on improving customer experience and fulfillment capacity. We're working to deliver a relevant, personalized and seamless customer experience across all channels to further grow sales."


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