LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas (AP) _ Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the world's largest retailer, and The Home Depot, the nation's largest home improvement retailer, each reported higher profits for the third quarter, meeting Wall Street's expectations.
The profit increases reported Tuesday come as many retailers struggle to attract customers and boost sales as the economy slows.
Wal-Mart earned dlrs 1.48 billion, or 33 cents a share, for the three months ended Oct. 31 compared to dlrs 1.37 billion, or 31 cents per share, in the year-ago period.
The results matched the consensus forecast of analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial/First Call.
Total quarterly sales climbed 15.5 percent to dlrs 52.7 billion from dlrs 45.7 billion a year ago.
President and chief executive Lee Scott said the results were ``particularly encouraging given the slowing economy and the uncertainty of the last several months.''
Sales at stores open at least a year _ a measure considered a good indicator of retail health _ were up 6.7 percent.
The company's traditional Wal-Mart stores and Supercenters had an operating profit of dlrs 2.346 billion, an increase of 4.8 percent from last year's third quarter. Its international segment posted dlrs 344 million.
For the first nine months of its fiscal year, Wal-Mart earned dlrs 4.48 billion, or dlrs 1.00 a share, up from dlrs 4.29 billion, or 96 cents a share, a year ago.
Nine-month sales rose to dlrs 153.6 billion from dlrs 134.8 billion a year ago.
Wal-Mart has 1,133 international stores, including 533 in Mexico, 93 in Germany and 15 in China.
Home Depot, based in Atlanta, earned dlrs 778 million, or 33 cents per share, in the quarter ended Oct. 28 compared with dlrs 650 million, or 28 cents per share, in the same period last year.
The results matched the consensus of analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial/First Call.
Quarterly sales rose 15 percent to dlrs 13.28 billion, up from dlrs 11.54 billion in the same quarter of 2000, although sales at stores open at least a year were flat.
``Thanks to our loyal customers, valued suppliers, and dedicated associates, we've been able to stay on strategy and deliver record results despite the turbulent economic environment and a national disaster,'' said Robert L. Nardelli, Home Depot's president and chief executive.
For the first nine months of the fiscal year, Home Depot earned dlrs 2.33 billion, or 99 cents a share, up from dlrs 2.11 billion, or 90 cents a share, in the same period last year.
Nine-month revenues were dlrs 40.06 billion, up from dlrs 35.27 billion in 2000.