The first few months of the year were tough for Wal-Mart Stores Inc.
The world’s largest retailer reported Thursday that its first-quarter profit edged up just slightly, and the company struggled with a sales slump during the three-month period. The discounter also offered a quarterly profit outlook that came below Wall Street’s projections.
Walmart blamed a payroll tax increase, delayed tax refunds, job worries and bad weather.
“Frankly, we had a more difficult quarter than expected,” said President and CEO Mike Duke in a pre-recorded call.
Walmart earned $3.78 billion, or $1.14 per share, in the quarter that ended April 30. That compares with $3.74 billion, or $1.09 per share, a year earlier. Revenue rose 1 percent to $113.43 billion. That figure excludes Sam’s Club membership fees. Results fell short of Wall Street expectations for earnings of $1.15 per share on revenue of $115.78 billion.
Walmart reported a 1.4 percent drop in revenue at stores open at least a year at its namesake business, which accounts for about 60 percent of the company’s total revenue.