Reuters

(Reuters)

Wal-Mart 1Q Profit Climbs 9% Despite Bribery Setback

By Retail FOXBusiness

Wal-Mart (WMT) reported better-than-expected first-quarter earnings Thursday on across-the-board sales increases, helped by warm weather that boosted Easter and springtime sales.

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The world’s largest retailer took a hit in April when bribery allegations emerged in Mexico, sparking an international probe. The accusations weighed on its stock price as the company defended its stance and readied for a hefty penalty.

However, the company managed to distance itself from the scandal in the first quarter with stellar results. The Bentonville, Ark.-based retail giant reported earnings from continuing operations of $3.7 billion, or $1.09 a share, compared with a year-earlier $3.4 billion, or 98 cents.

Revenue for the three months ended April 30 was up 8.6%, from $112.3 billion from $103.4 billion a year ago, beating the Street’s view of $110.54 billion.

Sales were led by 15% growth in Wal-Mart International to $32.1 billion. Wal-Mart comparable-store sales, or those open longer than a year, climbed 2.6% on higher traffic and tickets. Sam’s Club comparable sales were up 5.3%.

“Despite a negative impact from currency, we grew sales and operating profit over last year,” Wal-Mart CEO Mike Duke said in a statement. “In a highly competitive retail environment, Walmart U.S. is increasing price separation across categories and driving increased traffic to both the grocery and general merchandise areas of our stores.”

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The retailer expects to earn between $1.13 and $1.18 a share in the current quarter, which brackets the Street’s view of $1.16. Last year, the company earned $1.09 in the second quarter.

The company expects same-store sales to rise 1% to 3%.

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