May 15 - Wal-Mart's profit slid five percent as same-store sales fell for the fifth straight quarter. The retailer said profit could fall again in the current quarter. Fred Katayama reports.
Add yet another weak quarter to Wal-mart's string of woes. Profit at the world's largest retailer slid 5 percent as its comparable store sales in the U.S. fell for the fifth straight quarter. It blamed that weak sales performance on the unusually cold and wet winter weather. Fewer shoppers visited its stores. And currency fluctuations hurt its international sales. Even colder for investors was its grim forecast for the current quarter despite the onset of spring. Wal-mart said profit could decline due to higher health costs and its increased investments in e-commerce and Sam's Club membership programs. That feeble outlook sent its stock down at the start of trade. There were some bright spots in two areas where it's investing money. E-commerce sales have been growing fast, and Internet Retailer said that growth has outpaced that of amazon.com. And unlike its big box stores, Wal-mart's smaller stores called Neighborhood Markets saw comparable sales grow, and the retailer plans to vastly boost the number of those stores.