Walmart, the largest U.S. retailer, missed fourth-quarter earnings by a penny even as sales improved 5.8 percent to $122.3 billion, the company said this morning.
The Bentonville, Arkansas, based company said earnings per share for the final quarter of 2011 were $1.44, when excluding one-time charges, against estimates for $1.55. For the full-fiscal year, Walmart earned $4.54 per share, up from $4.18 per share a year ago.
Walmart spent the quarter continuing to drive lower prices across its U.S. retail channel, which helped the company report a second consecutive quarter of positive comparisons.
“Walmart U.S. reported positive comps of 1.5 percent for the fourth quarter including positive comp traffic,” Walmart CEO Mike Duke said. “Our price leadership is making a difference across the United States, as many families are settling into a new normal. Core customers remain cautious about their finances, and they rely on Walmart’s EDLP promise to help them manage through today’s economic challenges.”
Over the thirteen week period ending January 27, Sam’s Clubs saw same-store sales improve 5.4 percent when excluding fuel sales.
Capital expenditures during the year outpaced cash flow generated by stores, reducing free cash flow for the full year by $200 million, to $10.7 billion.
The company issued guidance for the coming year in the range of $4.72 to $4.92 per share.
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