A varied set of retailers, led by the world’s largest, returned better than expected first quarter results on stronger sales Tuesday.
In the three weeks ended April 30, Wal-Mart Stores Inc.’s net income grew 9.7 percent to $3.32 billion, or 88 cents a share. A year ago, its profits were $3.03 billion, or 77 cents a share. Analysts polled by Yahoo Finance had expected EPS of 85 cents from the Bentonville, Ark.-based mass merchant, on average. The bottom line improvement was aided in part by a 5.9 percent increase in revenues to $99.85 billion from $94.24 billion in the comparable period.
Saks Inc., meanwhile, credited better comps and reduced promotions for its return to the black in the quarter. For the three months ended May 1, the New York-based retailer’s profits totaled $18.8 million, or 11 cents a share, versus a loss of $5.1 million, or 4 cents a share, a year ago. Barring charges related to store closings, Saks’ net was 12 cents a share, ahead of analysts’ consensus estimate of 5 cents a share. Sales in the quarter rose 6.9 percent to $667.4 million from $624.3 million.
Sales gains also helped Abercrombie & Fitch Co. exceed expectations for the quarter, though the teen retailer still posted a loss. In the three months ended May 1, the New Albany, Ohio-based specialty operator reported a loss of $11.8 million or 13 cents a share. A year ago its loss totaled $59.2 million, or 68 cents a share. Analysts had expected a loss per share of 14 cents in the most recent quarter.  The company’s revenues increased 14.3 percent to $687.8 million, from $601.7 million.
For complete coverage, see Wednesday’s WWD.

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