Wal-Mart fourth-quarter profits rise 3.4%

Wal-Mart Wal-Mart has been cutting prices to tempt shoppers

Related Stories

The world's biggest retailer, Wal-Mart, has reported rising quarterly profits after a solid holiday season.

For the three months to 31 January, Wal-Mart turned in a net income of $5.2bn (£3.3bn), up 3.4% compared with the same period in the previous year.

But the results did not match market expectations and its shares closed down more than 4% in New York.

Sales at its British arm, Asda, were up just 1%, a slowdown from the third quarter, when sales rose 1.3%.

Asda has a slightly different quarter from its parent company. It reports on the three months to 7 January.

Premium products

Wal-Mart has been lowering prices to tempt shoppers.

In its quarterly report, Wal-Mart's chief executive, Mike Duke, said the strategy is working.

"Our price leadership is making a difference across the United States, as many families are settling into a new normal," he said.

"Core customers remain cautious about their finances, and they rely on Wal-Mart's every day low price promise to help them manage through today's economic challenges."

But that growth has come at a cost. The company's profit margin fell in the fourth quarter because of discounting.

While overall sales growth at Asda was slow, the company's online business is booming. Sales were up 20% in the fourth quarter.

The company also said its new premium products, including the Leiths range of food, is selling well.

Wal-Mart has been expanding overseas with last year's purchase of South Africa's Massmart.

It is also planning to raise its stake in the Chinese internet retailer Yihaodian to 51%.

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

More Business stories


Features & Analysis

  • Martin Gardner as a young manThink hard

    Was this man the world's greatest puzzle master?

  • Carved pumpkinTrick or treat

    What did a riot at a pumpkin festival show about race in US?

  • A man in a biohazard suit decontaminates a handrail at a Dallas train station.Ebola and race

    Is prejudice fuelling outbreak hysteria in the US?

  • Oscar de la Renta and Oprah WinfreyIn pictures

    The life and work of Oscar de la Renta

Elsewhere on the BBC

  • FutureThe future is now

    Get the latest updates and biggest ideas from BBC Future’s World-Changing Ideas Summit


  • Smart glassesClick Watch

    Smart spectacles go into battle – the prototypes looking to take on Google Glass

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.