Wal-Mart earnings flat in second quarter

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT) reported largely unchanged second-quarter earnings on Wednesday, despite lower sales at some of its Sam's Club and namesake Wal-Mart stores.

For the three months ending July 31, Wal-Mart said it earned $4.9 billion, or 88 cents a share, compared to $4.67 billion, or 87 cents a share, a year ago. Sales slipped to $100.1 billion in the quarter, down 1.4% from $101.5 billion last year.

Same-store sales at U.S.-based Wal-Mart stores fell 1.5 percent compared to last year, while sales at Sam's Club wholesales stores that sell gasoline fell 4.3 percent. Sales at Sam's Clubs stores that didn't sell fuel rose 0.6 percent, Wal-Mart said.

Wal-Mart has revamped stores and its logo in an attempt to freshen its image. Its focus on low prices has helped the world's largest retailer to weather the recession better than many others.

"Our performance this quarter has been good, despite headwinds from price deflation, the effects of the recession and currency exchange rates," said Tom Schoewe, Wal-Mart chief financial officer.

As with other retailers with international operations, currency exchange rates that don't favor the U.S. dollar have had a negative impact on earnings, reducing Wal-Mart earnings in the second quarter by about 4 cents a share, it said.

Wal-Mart raised its earnings estimate from continuing operations for the year to a range of $3.50 a share to $3.60 a share from its previous estimate of $3.45 a share to $3.60 a share.
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