Walmart boosts outlook after a strong 1st quarter and rising online sales

NEW YORK — Walmart reported a strong first quarter as the nation’s largest retailer continues to draw budget conscious consumers in a challenging economic environment.

The company, based in Bentonville, Ark., offered an upbeat outlook for the year.

Walmart reported net income of $1.63 billion, or 62 cents per share for the three month period ended April 30. Earnings, adjusted for non-recurring costs, came to $1.47 per share, far exceeding the per-share earnings of $1.32 that Wall Street was looking for, according to a survey by FactSet.

That compares with $141.57 billion, or 74 cents per share, in the year ago period.

Sales rose 7.6% to $152.3 billion, also topping estimates.

Comparable store sales — those from established stores and online operating over the past 12 months — rose 7.4%, a bit slower than the 8.3% during the fourth quarter but still solid. It posted an 8.2% gain in the fiscal third quarter.

Online sales rose 26% in the first quarter, an acceleration from the 17% in the previous quarter.