Wal-Mart Stores Posts Higher Oct. Sales

Thursday, November 4th 2004, 12:58 pm
By: News On 6

BENTONVILLE, Ark. (AP) _ Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the world's largest retailer, said Thursday that October sales at U.S. stores open at least one year, or same-store sales, increased 2.8 percent.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call were expecting same-store sales to rise 3 percent during the latest month. Total sales for the four weeks ended Oct. 29 increased 10.4 percent to $21.04 billion from $19.07 billion a year ago.

The Wal-Mart division posted total sales of $13.92 billion, up 9.4 percent from sales of $12.72 billion last year. Same-store sales were up 2.4 percent. Sam's Club recorded total October sales of $2.82 billion, a 6.8 percent increase from sales of $2.64 billion in the prior year. Same-store sales increased 5 percent for the month.

The company said its international division had total sales of $4.31 billion in October, up 16.2 percent over sales of $3.71 billion last year.

Year-to-date, Wal-Mart Stores said total sales were up 11.4 percent to $203.05 billion from $182.31 billion in the prior-year period.

The company is forecasting a same-store sales increased of 2 percent to 4 percent for November. Wal-Mart said that although sales for the quarter were below its original plan, gross margin exceeded the company's forecast and a change in the effective tax rate will result in earnings for quarter ended Oct. 31 coming in at the high end of Wal-Mart's estimated range of 52 cents to 54 cents per share.

Analysts, on average, are predicting Wal-Mart will earn 52 cents per share for the third quarter.