BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Wal-Mart Stores here said yesterday earnings were flat and sales were down for the first quarter ended April 30, with a slowdown in food inflation having a modest impact on U.S. grocery sales.
“While we believe our grocery business continues to out-perform leading competitors and is benefiting from increased distribution of government assistance programs, grocery comp sales are being modestly impacted by a slowdown in inflation,” Eduardo Castro-Wright, vice chairman, said during a pre-recorded earnings call. "As consumers have more disposable income as a result of moderating food inflation, we have seen them spend those savings on more discretionary categories.”
The company reported net income for the 13-week quarter was $3 billion, identical to the results a year ago, while sales fell 0.6% to $93.4 billion. Overall comparable-store sales, excluding fuel, rose 3.7%. Sales in the Wal-Mart U.S. division rose 3.8% to $61.2 billion, with comp sales, excluding fuel, up 3.6%; sales at Sam's Club fell 1.4% to $11 billion, with comps, excluding fuel, up 4.2%; and international sales dropped 11.1% to $21.3 billion — which the company said was due to negative currency translations to the U.S. dollar amounting to $4.8 billion.
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