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Walmart Advances In Q3, Home Makes Gains

For the third quarter ended October 31, Wal-Mart Store, Inc. announced that income from continuing operations reached $3.6 billion, up 8.7% from the third quarter last year. Diluted earnings per share were $1.08 versus 97 cents in last year’s quarter.

Net sales for the quarter were $113.2 billion, a gain of 3.4% from the period last year. Net sales for the quarter included a negative currency exchange rate impact of approximately $1.7 billion, Walmart stated. Without it, the company said, net sales would have been $114.9 billion.

On average, analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected net sales of $114.96 billion, but also anticipated earnings per share of $1.07.

Membership and other income increased 2.1% to $725 million, Wal-Mart said, while total revenue was $113.9 billion, an increase of 3.4% from last year’s period.

Net sales at Walmart U.S. were up 3.6% to $66.13 billion while those in the retailer’s international division gained 2.4% to $33.16 billion and those at Sam’s Club advanced by 4.7% to $13.92 billion. Comparable store sales at Walmart U.S. increased 1.5% while comps at Sam’s Club increased 2.7% for a company total in the United States of 1.7%. All figures consider sales without the impact of fuel.

In a conference call, as transcribed by Wal-Mart, Bill Simon, president of Walmart U.S., said customer traffic at namesake stores “was up approximately 0.1%, but we were particularly encouraged by the 1.4% lift in ticket, given the continued downward inflationary trends in some food and electronics categories.”

He said that all geographies and store formats posted positive comps.

Simon related that Walmart home departments “drove a low single-digit positive comp, benefiting from item merchandising, innovation, and assortment refinement. We’re seeing consistent results across home, making this the fourth straight quarter of positive comps. Home is another area that’s benefiting from our expanded offering this year with improved quality in virtually all categories. Our customers are asking for more layaway items, so we added a number of small appliances, including many customizable solutions like the Keurig and SodaStream brands.”

Rosalind Brewer, CEO of Sam’s Club, noted that home and apparel contributed to better comps at the division in the third quarter, with home out a bit ahead.

“Apparel was up a low single-digit comp, and home achieved high single-digit comps. The continued introductions of new national brands and better assortment have driven sales growth. Recent innovations in mattresses are helping sales as well, and we continue to be a destination for this category,” she said.

In the quarter, additionally, Walmart U.S. recognized approximately $35 million of inventory damage, clean-up and other miscellaneous expenses related to Hurricane Sandy it said.