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Wal-Mart tops forecasts
No. 1 retailer overcomes sluggish sales growth to post 14 percent rise in fourth-quarter earnings.
February 18, 2003: 4:53 PM EST

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - Wal-Mart Stores Inc. reported Tuesday its fiscal fourth-quarter profits rose 14 percent to a record, topping Wall Street forecasts despite disappointing holiday sales.

The world's largest retailer said it earned $2.5 billion, or 57 cents a share, in the quarter ended Jan. 31, up from $2.2 billion, or 49 cents, a year earlier. Analysts surveyed by earnings tracker First Call had a consensus forecast of 56 cents.

Total sales rose 10.7 percent to $71.1 billion from $64.2 billion, missing First Call's forecast of $71.5 billion.

Sales at stores open at least a year, a closely watched measure known as same-store sales, gained 2.7 percent. The company previously said holiday same-store sales came in lower than its earlier forecasts of a 3 to 5 percent gain.

Chief Financial Officer Tom Schoewe said the company should be able to earn between 40 and 42 cents a share in the first quarter, and $2.00 and $2.05 a share for the current fiscal year.

While that's at or slightly below the First Call consensus forecasts of 42 cents for the quarter and $2.05 for the year, the company said its guidance includes some charges not included in current forecasts, such as expensing stock options, which should lower EPS by 2 or 3 cents for the year, and a change in accounting for leases. Schoewe said excluding those charges, the company is comfortable it should be able to meet current forecasts.

Shares of Wal-Mart (WMT: Research, Estimates), a component of the Dow Jones industrial average, finished 7 cents lower at $49.08 on Tuesday after the report. That comes after a gain of $1.51 to $49.15 Friday, ahead of the three-day weekend in the United States for Presidents Day.  Top of page




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Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.