The world's largest retailer surprised Wall Street by solidly growing its revenue at a time when its big rivals have suffered from sluggish sales. Fred Katayama reports.
Wal-Mart bucking the trend of weak retail earnings by its rivals. The world's largest retailer surprised Wall Street with its revenue growth. It wasn't a huge gain, but it comes when sales fell at other big brick-and-mortar retailers like Macy's and Target. More people shopped at its Walmart stores in the U.S., boosting comparable sales for the seventh straight quarter. Driving those sales gains: pharmacy, home goods and apparel - yes apparel. Unlike at department stores, clothing sales were strong. Profit fell, reflecting the company's moves to boost wages, improve inventory and invest in automated warehouses to fulfill online orders. But that, along with revenue and comparable sales, handily beat estimates. So, too, did its outlook - an upbeat forecast - for the fiscal year. Stephens analyst Ben Bienvenu said, "Those strong quarterly results and continued momentum into the second quarter are encouraging." Wal-Mart shares surged in early trading, cutting its 17 percent loss over the last 12 months.