Return on investment surges for Wal-Mart
A return on investment (ROI) spike for Wal-Mart Stores was offset by exchange rate impacts during the third quarter, but the multinational retailer still notched a 3.4% net sales rise for the period.
If currencies were constant the company would have recorded a 4.9% rise. Improvements in capital discipline, productivity and its e-commerce platform helped drive net sales of US$113.204 billion.
Walmart U.S. growth outperformed the international division by 1.2 percentage points, while the highest growth rate was for the Sam's Club part of the business with a 4.7% rise.
In a release, chief financial officer Charles Holley said ROI rose by 18% in the 12 months to Oct. 31, while cash flow for the nine months prior more than doubled year-on-year.
"Despite current economic conditions, we continue to produce solid operating results with strong cash flow from operations," he said.
"The strength of our free cash flow allows us to provide good returns to our shareholders through dividends and share repurchases."
Holley revised previous earnings per share forecasts upward.
"For the full year, we are tightening and reaffirming the top end of our earnings per share guidance to a range of $4.88 to $4.93. This compares to our previous guidance of $4.83 to $4.93."
CEO Mike Duke said the same price consciousness of the United States was seen in all of Wal-Mart's markets.
"More customers are part of a growing global middle class, looking for quality, value and a better life, and our EDLP (every day low pricing) model matters to these customers," he said.
"We made significant progress this quarter in enhancing our walmart.com site for U.S. customers, and we are expanding e-commerce opportunities for shoppers in our key markets, including China, the U.K. and Brazil.
"We also increased our position in China e-commerce retailer Yihaodian to 51 percent."