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Bad weather hurts Wal-Mart in 1Q, outlook weak

Published May 15, 2014 9:31 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

New York • Wal-Mart's first-quarter net income fell 5 percent as bad winter weather and financial struggles kept customers from spending at the world's largest retailer.

The company's shares fell 2 percent as Wal-Mart reported results that missed Wall Street's expectations for the third time in five quarters and gave a weak second-quarter earnings forecast.

The results underscore the big challenges facing Wal-Mart's new CEO, Doug McMillon, who took over the top role on Feb. 1. The retailer is considered an economic bellwether, with the company accounting for nearly 10 percent of nonautomotive retail spending in the U.S.

Wal-Mart's latest performance appears to show that many people are having a hard time stretching their money between paychecks.

For the period ended April 30, the Bentonville, Arkansas, company earned $3.59 billion, or $1.11 per share. That compares with $3.78 billion, or $1.14 per share, a year ago.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. said that bad weather hurt earnings by about 3 cents per share. Its performance was also dinged by a higher-than-expected tax rate.

Income from continuing operations was $1.10 per share. Analysts, on average, expected earnings of $1.15 per share, according to a FactSet survey.