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Wal-Mart Posts Higher Sales, Lower Net Income

Bentonville, Ark. — Wal-Mart Stores reported higher net sales but lower net income in its fourth quarter and fiscal year, ended Jan. 31.

Net sales for the fourth quarter were $128.8 billion, an increase of 1.4 percent over last year. This quarter included the negative impact of approximately $1.8 billion from currency exchange rate fluctuations. On a constant currency basis, net sales would have increased 2.8 percent to $130.6 billion. Membership and other income for the fourth quarter increased 12.7 percent vs. last year.

Total revenue was $129.7 billion, an increase of $1.9 billion, or 1.5 percent, over last year.

Consolidated net income attributable to Walmart was $4.4 billion in the quarter, a decrease of 21 percent.

Consolidated net sales for the year were $473.1 billion, an increase of 1.6 percent over fiscal year 2013. Net sales included approximately $5.1 billion of negative impact from currency exchange rate fluctuations and included a favorable impact of approximately $0.7 billion from acquisitions. Membership and other income was $3.2 billion, an increase of 5.6 percent from the prior year. Total revenue was $476.3 billion, an increase of 1.6 percent or $7.6 billion.

Consolidated net income attributable to Walmart was $16 billion, a decrease of 5.7 percent.

Bill Simon, president/CEO of Walmart U.S., said that in the fourth quarter, net sales grew by $1.8 billion or 2.4 percent. For the 14 weeks ending Jan. 31, comp-store sales were down 0.4 percent, with ticket up 1.3 percent and traffic down 1.7 percent.

He added, “In the absence of a reduction of government SNAP benefits, which represented approximately 40 basis points of impact to comp sales, we believe the quarter would have been flat. Additionally, comps were pressured by winter storms, which forced the closure of over 200 stores at some point over the course of quarter.”

Simon noted, “While we’re disappointed with comp sales … we kicked off the season with a successful Black Friday event, led by strong customer response to the one-hour-guarantee program. We followed that with an excellent Cyber Monday, which marked the biggest sales day in’s history.”

He noted that due to the holiday season, “we gained share across all of our tracked general merchandise categories, including entertainment, toys, automotive, stationery, home and apparel, for the 13 weeks ending Jan. 4, 2014, according to The NPD Group.”

Rosalind Brewer, president/CEO of Sam’s Club, echoed Simon’s remarks about fourth-quarter weather hurting sales performance. Still, net sales for the quarter were $13.2 billion, up 1.2 percent from last year.

Brewer said, “Within technology and entertainment, our VIP event and cyber week delivered solid growth. is becoming even more important, with member usage increasing. During non-peak times, however, sales were soft, especially in highly competitive categories like TVs, portable electronics and wireless. This ultimately led to a mid single-digit negative comp.”

She noted, “Technology and entertainment has been challenged over the past year, experiencing deflationary pressures and ever-changing member preferences. The team is actively working to reenergize our assortment, predominantly in mobile, driving sales with new and exciting technology.”