Wal-Mart Woes Amongst Increased Revenue (NYSE:WMT)

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Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) may have a new financial problem.  Its customers may be maxed out and do not have more money to spend at its chain.  It seems that same-store sales fell even though total revenue grew.  That can be indicative of some difficulties for Wal-Mart’s overall financial status.

News indicates that the world's largest retailer reported $112.8 billion in worldwide revenue in its fiscal fourth quarter, up 4.6% from a year earlier. But Wal-Mart also said U.S. same-store sales fell 1.6% in the period and noted that traffic in U.S. stores fell slightly. Same-store sales are considered an important measure of a retailer's health.

Wal-Mart's financial results unnerved investors, outweighing plenty of good news in the Bentonville, Ark., company's quarterly report. Wal-Mart has been slashing expenses and inventory, and international sales growth remains strong. Earnings per share last quarter were $1.17, beating Wall Street's estimate of $1.12.

Still, Wal-Mart shares fell 1.1% after the quarterly results were announced on Feb. 18.

According to one intriguing statistic in Wal-Mart's quarterly report, same-store sales at Sam's Club actually rose 0.7% last quarter, while they fell 2% at the rest of the chain's U.S. stores. This suggests that Sam's Club's higher-end consumers could afford to spend a little more last quarter, while Wal-Mart's lower-end customers needed to get by with less.

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