Wal-Mart Store’s Inc. (NYSE:WMT) announced its third quarter results with profits slipping 2.9%. The world’s largest retailer missed Wall Street expectations, but reported its first quarterly revenue gain in more than two years. Wal-Mart (WMT) reported on Tuesday it earned 97 cents per share, or $3.33 billion in the three-month period ended Oct. 31. That compares with 95 cents per share, or $3.43 billion, in the year-ago period. The year-ago results included a tax benefit of a nickel.
Wal-Mart reported net sales for the third quarter of fiscal year 2012 were $109.5 billion, an increase of 8.2% from $101.2 billion in net sales in last year’s third quarter. Net sales for the quarter included $2.1 billion in sales from acquisitions in the U.K. and South Africa and a currency exchange translation benefit of $1.3 billion.
“Every business segment is stronger today than it was a year ago, and we delivered solid earnings growth for our shareholders in the third quarter,” said Mike Duke, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. President and CEO. “Both Walmart U.S. and Sam’s Club exceeded comp sales guidance, and I’m pleased that the sales momentum positions us exceedingly well for the holidays. We also are pleased with the growth in both sales and operating income for Walmart International.
“The company leveraged operating expenses this quarter, with all three operating segments achieving that goal as well,” Duke continued. “We are committed to leveraging expenses again this year. Our overall performance reflects Walmart’s strategy of driving the productivity loop, reducing expenses and investing in price.”
“Like the U.S., our international markets are ready for the upcoming holidays. We continue to see strong consumer demand in emerging markets, and our mission is relevant across all our formats around the world. EDLP is becoming an even stronger competitive advantage for us,” Duke added.
In the third quarter, Wal-mart repurchased $1.4 billion worth of shares, representing approximately 27 million shares. In addition, the company paid $1.3 billion in dividends.
Wal-mart’s forecast for fourth quarter fiscal 2012 diluted earnings per share to range between $1.42 and $1.48.
Shares of Wal-Mart were trading at 58.09, down 1.36% in the pre-market on Tuesday.