Wal-Mart Stores Inc, the world's largest
retailer, Thursday said its third-quarter profits were up 9 per cent,
to 3.64 billion dollars, compared to the same period of 2011.
But third quarter sales were only up 1.5 per cent at stores open at least a year, less than the 2 per-cent climb that had been expected by analysts and slower than the 2.2 per cent gain in the second quarter.
Wal-Mart's projection for fourth-quarter sales, when most retailers have their largest turnover during the Christmas holiday season, dropped below the expectations of analysts surveyed by Bloomberg news service.
Chief financial officer Charles Holley blamed the continuing economic stagnation in the US for the gloomy outlook. Unemployment is 7.9 per cent, with 12 million people out of work and nearly again that many working at jobs below their qualifications or full-time needs.
"Current macroeconomic conditions continue to pressure our customers," Holley said in a statement. "The holiday season is predicted to be very competitive, but we are well prepared to deliver on the value and low prices our customers expect."
Wal-Mart has dropped prices to rock-bottom levels, which has further cut into profits. The US stores generated 60 per cent of the company's 443.9 billion dollars in store sales in 2011.
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