Turnaround may be soon
Wal-Mart’s sales slump may end during the current quarter, Simon indicated. Wal-Mart said it expects comparable store sales for the quarter that ends in July to range between a decline of 1% and a rise of 1%. A widely followed gauge of retailer performance, comparable store sales typically reflect locations open at least a year.
“We’re monitoring the economic environment carefully, as significant changes in gas prices and inflation during the quarter will influence our actual performance,” Simon said.
Gasoline prices soared this year as turmoil in Libya and other top petroleum countries of North Africa and the Middle East sent crude oil above $110 a barrel. Earlier this week, regular-grade gasoline averaged $3.94 a gallon nationwide, up 37% from $2.87 a year ago, according to AAA, the auto trade association.
Wal-Mart still had better-than-expected quarterly results, with net income rising 3.9% amid stronger international sales.
During the three months ending April 29, Wal-Mart’s fiscal 2012 first quarter, net income rose to $3.43 billion from $3.3 billion a year earlier. Per-share earnings of 97 cents surpassed the average analyst estimate by about 2 cents, according to Yahoo! Finance.
Wal-Mart’s total revenue rose 4.3% to $103.4 billion.