'Wal-Mart delivers best ever Q4 results in history' - Mike Duke, CEO
Mike Duke - President & CEO
Wal-Mart Stores Inc reported sales and earnings for the quarter and the year ended Jan. 31, 2009. Net sales for the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2009 were $107.996 billion, an increase of 1.7 percent from $106.208 billion in the fourth quarter last year.
Income from continuing operations for the quarter was $3.792 billion, a decrease of 7.7 percent from $4.110 billion in the fourth quarter last year. Without a litigation settlement charge and the effect of unfavorable currency exchange rates, income from continuing operations would have been positive on a comparable basis.
Reported diluted earnings per share from continuing operations (“reported EPS”) for the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2009 were $0.96, exceeding the company's most recent guidance of $0.91 to $0.94. The underlying diluted earnings per share from continuing operations (“underlying EPS”) were $1.03.
Underlying EPS represents reported EPS in accordance with GAAP, adjusted for charges from the settlement of 63 U.S. class action wage and hour lawsuits (the “litigation charge”) of approximately $255 million on an after-tax basis for the fourth quarter.
Last year, Wal-Mart earned $1.03 per share from continuing operations in the fourth quarter, which included a net charge of approximately $0.02 per share for real estate transactions and certain restructuring of its Japanese operations.
Net sales for the fiscal year were $401.244 billion, an increase of 7.2 percent over fiscal year 2008. Income from continuing operations increased 3.0 percent to $13.254 billion, up from $12.863 billion in the prior year. Reported EPS for fiscal year 2009 was $3.35, up 6.0 percent from $3.16 in the prior year. Underlying EPS was $3.42, excluding the litigation charge.
“Wal-Mart recorded the strongest sales result in its history in the fourth quarter, with $108 billion in sales,” said Mike Duke, Wal-Mart Stores Inc president and chief executive officer. “We achieved this through the hard work of our associates, helping our customers save money so they can live better.
“Our performance relative to competitors was exceptionally strong in the fourth quarter and throughout the year. We expect this momentum to continue,” Duke said. “We finished the year with a strong balance sheet, record free cash flow of $11.6 billion and great inventory management. Our company created approximately 63,000 jobs worldwide this year, including more than 33,000 in the United States. In addition, Wal-Mart remains wellpositioned to continue to serve our customers in a challenging environment because of its strong price leadership.”
The company expects reported EPS to be between $0.72 and $0.77 for the first quarter of fiscal year 2010, and between $3.45 and $3.60 for the full year.
“Our guidance reflects the strength of our underlying business and global economic conditions,” said Tom Schoewe, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. executive vice president and chief financial officer. “It assumes that currency exchange rates will remain relatively the same as they were at the end of our 2009 fiscal year, which would have a negative impact on our year-over-year comparison of fiscal 2010 EPS of approximately 13 cents per share.”
On Feb. 5, Wal-Mart announced that it would provide comparable store sales guidance every 13 weeks, instead of monthly, based on the National Retail Federation's 4-5-4 week calendar. The company said it expects U.S. comparable sales without fuel during the period from Jan. 31 through May 1 to increase between one and three percent. Wal-Mart will provide guidance for the next 13-week period on May 7.
Wal-Mart Stores Inc