Discount retailer Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE:WMT) said Thursday that third-quarter profits rose 9 per cent, beating estimates but revenues fell short of Street expectations.
Wal-Mart's earnings have been challenged recently as its core low-income customers in the U.S. cope with high gasoline prices and persistently high unemployment levels.
For the quarter ended October 31, Wal-Mart said net profit grew to $3.64 billion, or $1.08 per share, from $3.34 billion, or 96 cents per share a year earlier.
Revenues rose 3.4 per cent to $113.2 billion. Sales were negatively impacted by exchange-rate fluctuations, the company said. Minus the currency impact, sales would have been $114.9 billion, Wal-Mart said.
Wall Street analysts expected the company to earn $1.07 per share on sales of $114 billion, according to FactSet.
“We’re very pleased with our financial performance for the third quarter and the dedication and hard work of our associates serving Walmart customers and communities around the world,” Wal-Mart Stores' president and CEO Mike Duke said.
"Earnings per share were $1.08, which represents an 11.3 percent increase over the third quarter last year."
U.S. same-store sales rose 1.5 per cent, short of the 4.6 per cent forecast by Thomson Reuters. Same-store sales at Sam's Club climbed 2.7 per cent, excluding fuel, compared with the company's 3% to 5% growth prediction.
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 per share, compared with previous guidance of $4.88 to $4.93 per share. The company earned $4.54 per share in 2011, the company said.
Wal-Mart CFO Charles Holley said: "Current macroeconomic conditions continue to pressure our customers. 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."