Wal-Mart Profit Falls 5 Percent As Harsh Winter Deters Shoppers

 
on May 15 2014 7:52 AM
Walmart store
Shoppers are seen outside a Walmart store in Rosemead, Calif., on Jan. 29, 2014, a day the world's largest retailer said it will tighten inspections on its suppliers in China after it was forced to recall donkey meat products that had been found to contain fox. The U.S. company said it would also change its rules in China to ensure that meat shipments are properly documented before they hit the shelves. Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images

(Reuters) - Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE:WMT) reported a 5 percent drop in quarterly profit as a severe winter in the United States kept shoppers from its stores.
 
Shares of the world's largest retailer were down 3 percent before the bell on Thursday.
 
Wal-Mart, which gets more than half its sales from groceries, said sales at U.S. stores open for at least a year were relatively flat during the quarter.
 
A colder-than-usual winter hurt same-store sales by about 20 basis points, while customer visits fell 1.4 percent, the company said.
 
"Like other retailers in the United States, the unseasonably cold and disruptive weather negatively impacted U.S. sales and drove operating expenses higher than expected," Chief Executive Doug McMillon said in a statement.
 
Net sales rose marginally to $114.2 billion in the first quarter ended April 30.
 
The net income attributable to Wal-Mart fell to $3.59 billion, or $1.11 per share, from $3.78 billion, or $1.14 per share, a year earlier.
 
The company earned $1.10 per share from continuing operations.
 
Adverse winter weather reduced earnings by 3 cents per share.
 
The company said it expected second-quarter earnings of $1.15-$1.25 per share from continuing operations.
 
The Bentonville, Arkansas-based company's shares were down 3.2 percent at $76.20 in premarket trading on Thursday. The stock has fallen 1.4 percent in the 12 months to Wednesday's close of $78.74.
 
(Reporting by Siddharth Cavale in Bangalore; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)

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