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Wal-Mart Stores 2nd-Quarter Sales Jump 10.4%

Wal-Mart’s stores segment recorded a 10.4 percent increase in sales during the retailer’s fiscal second quarter, climbing to $51.8 billion in the three months, up from $46.9 billion in the year-ago period. Comp-store sales rose 3.6 percent.

The Wal-Mart stores business reported an 8.3 percent rise in operating income for its second quarter, ended July 31, reaching nearly $4 billion, compared with $3.7 billion year-on-year.

In reference to Wal-Mart’s second three months, Lee Scott, president/CEO, said, “July came in stronger than we expected. Wal-Mart Stores did miss their plan as our customer continued to be impacted by higher gas prices and it is difficult to improve our expense leverage in the current environment.” Wal-Mart said its lower-income shoppers were particularly affected by the sharp rise in gasoline prices.

The retailer’s warehouse segment, Sam’s Club, reported a 5.9 percent increase in second quarter sales, coming in at nearly $10 billion, up from $9.4 billion the previous year period. Comp-store sale increased 2.9 percent. Operating income for Sam’s increased 5.4 percent in the second quarter, hitting $371 million, up from $352 million in the same three months in 2004.

Consolidated Wal-Mart second-quarter sales moved up 10.2 percent, reaching $76.8 billion, compared with $69.7 billion the prior year. Comp-store sales moved up 3.5 percent in the second quarter.

Consolidated net income for the three months was $2.8 billion, a 5.8 percent rise over the $2.7 billion reported year-on-year. The figure was the chain’s smallest earnings increase in four years, attributed, in part, to rising costs of energy, labor and health care.