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Wal-Mart profit ticks up; retailer cuts outlook

By Katie Doherty

This article was published November 14, 2013 at 7:51 a.m.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. on Thursday reported a net income rise of 2.8 percent in the third quarter even as U.S. same-store sales dipped. The Bentonville-based retailer also revised its full-year earnings outlook downward, citing overseas headwinds.

The Bentonville-based retailer's profit rose to $3.7 billion, or $1.14 per share, from $3.64 billion, or $1.08 per share, in the third quarter of 2012. Total revenue came to $115.7 billion, an increase of $1.9 billion, or 1.7 percent, over the previous year, the retailer said.

Wal-Mart U.S. comparable-store sales, or sales at stores open at least a year, fell 0.3 percent in the quarter.

"Walmart delivered solid earnings growth that was within our guidance range," Wal-Mart Stores Inc. President and CEO Mike Duke said in a statement. "Our most important priority is growing top line sales, including comp sales. The retail environment, both in stores and online, remains competitive. Walmart has aggressive plans to help our customers enjoy the holiday season, and there is no doubt that we plan to win for our customers and shareholders throughout the holidays."

The company projected fourth-quarter earnings of between $1.50 and $1.60. If roughly 10 cents per share for previously disclosed one time items — the company's closure of about 50 underperforming stores in Brazil and China and its decision to end its franchise deal with Bharti Retail in India and independently operate the wholesale format there — the guidance rises to $1.60 to $1.70 per share.

"The company's guidance reflects a view of global economic trends, including ongoing headwinds from currency exchange rate fluctuations, a competitive holiday season, and a full-year effective tax rate that is expected to range between 31 and 33 percent," the company said in a statement.

A prerecorded phone call by Wal-Mart executives offering additional comments can be found by visiting the investor information area on the company's website, www.stock.walmart.com or by dialing (877) 523-5612 and entering the code 9256278.

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