Wal-Mart net income falls 5% in first quarter

Posted: May 15, 2014 at 6:44 a.m.

Wal-Mart on Thursday reported a 5 percent decline in net income attributable to its operations in the first quarter compared with the same period a year ago.

The world's largest retailer said in a statement that consolidated net income attributable to Wal-Mart was nearly $3.6 billion, down from about $3.8 billion last year. Total net income, which includes "income attributable to a noncontrolling interest," was down 5.6 percent from more than $3.9 billion last year to more than $3.7 billion this year.

Diluted earnings per share from continuing operations were $1.10, a 3.5 percent decline from $1.14 a year earlier. Wal-Mart said the current earnings would have been 3 cents higher per share if not for severe weather in the U.S. and a higher-than-expected tax rate during the quarter.

Net sales in the period were up 0.8 percent to nearly $114.2 billion from about $113.3 billion last year.

"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," Wal-Mart President and Chief Executive Officer Doug McMillon said in a statement. "Walmart's underlying business is solid, and I'm confident in our long-term strategies. We'll continue to invest in price and enhance our service to improve sales. We remain focused on growth across the enterprise, especially in small formats like Neighborhood Market in the U.S."

The Bentonville-based Wal-Mart said second-quarter earnings per share are projected to be between $1.15 and $1.25. Last year's second quarter earnings per share were $1.24.

A pre-recorded call on the first-quarter results will be posted online or available by calling (877) 523-5612 and using passcode 9256278. Wal-Mart said the call would be posted after the results were reported to the Securities and Exchange Commission.