BENTONVILLE, Ark.–Walmart posted net income of $3.3 billion in the first quarter, up nearly 10 percent over last year’s first quarter and a new record for the period.
The world’s largest retailer also set a new mark for first-quarter net sales, which totaled $99.1 billion and which rose 6 percent over last year. The key factor in the sales jump was a 21.4 percent gain in sales from Walmart’s international operations. Walmart’s U.S. locations reported a 1.1 percent rise in net sales, while Sam’s Club increased sales by 4.6 percent. In the United States, comparable-store sales slipped 0.8 percent.
Walmart also said its first-quarter gross margin fell by eight basis points to 24.6 percent, while operating, selling, general and administrative expenses increased 3.9 percent.
Noting that net income exceeded the company’s expectations, Mike Duke, Walmart’s president and chief executive officer, added that the company leveraged its operating expenses to improve the bottom line. Duke also said Walmart is in a strong position with consumers because of their continuing concerns about their finances, unemployment and higher fuel prices.