Wal-Mart profit up 9% as sales rise in third quarter

Posted: November 15, 2012 at 6:33 a.m.

The Wal-Mart Supercenter at Shackleford Crossing shopping center in Little Rock.

— Wal-Mart said Thursday that earnings and sales were up in the third quarter compared with the same period a year ago.

The Bentonville-based retail giant said earnings per share from continuing operations were $1.08, up more than 11 percent from 97 cents last year. Net sales were up 3.4 percent to $113.2 billion, and comparable-store sales increased 1.5 percent.

Consolidated net income attributable to Wal-Mart was more than $3.6 billion in the quarter, a 9 percent jump from the $3.3 billion posted a year ago.

“We're very pleased with our financial performance for the third quarter and the dedication and hard work of our associates serving Walmart customers and communities around the world,” President and Chief Executive Officer Mike Duke said in a statement. "... Our disciplined approach to operating the business and to the productivity loop drove profitability and expense leverage. Our fundamentals are strong, and we are well-positioned for the fourth quarter, including innovative plans to drive traffic, especially in our U.S. stores."

Duke noted that Wal-Mart's "strong price position" puts it in good shape heading into the busy Christmas shopping period. He said the retailer in the quarter also enhanced its website and increased e-commerce in markets including China, the U.K. and Brazil.

Wal-Mart also reported Thursday that it has updated its full-year earnings guidance, narrowing the range to $4.88 to $4.93. Comparable-store sales at Sam's Club locations without fuel increased 2.7 percent in the quarter, and Wal-Mart International net sales went up 2.4 percent to $33.2 billion.