Walmart in overseas lift as US drags

WALMART posted a bigger-than-expected jump in quarterly profit yesterday despite a further drop in sales at US stores.

A strong performance overseas fuelled the profit as the US market lagged behind.

Walmart’s international sales rose 11.5 per cent to almost $28bn (£17.2bn) for the three months to the end of April. Markets including China and Mexico performed particularly well.

Sales at US shops open at least a year fell 1.1 per cent – the eighth straight quarter of sales declines at the world’s largest retailer. Walmart US has been hurt by consumers facing higher fuel and food costs. Meanwhile the company’s total sales rose 4.4 per cent to $103.42bn, topping Wall Street’s average forecast of $102.93bn.

Walmart, which owns Asda, earned $3.4bn, or 98 cents per share, in the first-quarter to 30 April, or 87 cents per share, a year earlier. The figures showed that Asda sales at shops open over a year rose 0.1 per cent excluding fuel and VAT.

Chief executive Mike Duke (pictured) said in April that consumers’ spending power has been affected in the face of rising fuel and other inflationary pressures, with many shoppers spending more on the first day of the month when they receive their paychecks. He said consumers have also begun to consolidate trips and do more one-stop shops.

Another US retail heavyweight home improvement chain Home Depot yesterday reported net income up to $812m in the first-quarter.

Sales fell 0.2 per cent to $16.82bn, missing analysts’ average estimate of $17.02bn.

Meanwhile Saks, which operates 46 department stores, reported first-quarter net income of $28.4m, compared with $18.8m, or 11 cents per share, a year earlier.

Revenue rose 8.7 per cent to $726m.