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Wal-Mart’s Earnings Up 16%

8/12/2004 02:26:00 PM Eastern

Bentonville, Ark. — A more profitable merchandise mix, fewer markdowns and sharper deals with more offshore suppliers helped overcome higher wage expenses to boost Wal-Mart’s second fiscal-quarter income from continuing operations 16.1 percent to $2.3 billion for the three months, ended July 31.

Total sales were $69.7 billion for the period, an increase of 11.3 percent.

“This quarter, earnings grew faster than sales, and we improved operating profits in all of our divisions,” said president/CEO Lee Scott. “We consider this a solid performance in a difficult retail environment. Now at the halfway point, we are on track for another record year.”

Broken out by sector, Wal-Mart’s titular domestic discount stores earned $3.7 billion in the second quarter, an increase of 11.1 percent, on sales of $46.9 billion, which were up 10.2 percent over the year-ago period. Same store sales increased 3.2 percent.

Operating profit at Sam’s Club grew 13.9 percent to $352 million on sales of $9.4 billion, which were up 10.1 percent over the year-ago period. Same store sales at the wholesale club division gained 8.8 percent for the quarter.