06 February 2009

WMT: January 2009 and 4Q-2009 Sales

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT) has just reported sales data [pdf] for the four weeks that ended on 30 January 2009.  Total company net sales during this period were $27.742 billion, up 1.8 percent from the comparable period in 2008.

Wal-Mart had earlier announced sales of $32.213 billion in November and $46.509 billion in December.

Therefore, sales during the last three months totaled $106.464 billion.

Sales are reported on the basis of 4-week or 5-week months, rather than calendar months.  Quarterly results, on the other hand, cover three calendar months.  Therefore, the reporting periods do not line up exactly.

For the quarter that ended on 31 January 2009, the three calendar months were just one day longer than the three sales months. 

Since sales during a typical day are about $1 billion, the top-line Revenue figure should be very close to $107.5 billion when Wal-Mart reports its results for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2009.  This report is expected on 17 February 2009.

When we first modeled Wal-Mart's fourth-quarter results in late December 2008, we established a target for Revenue of $108.0 billion.  Then, in mid January 2009, actual sales for December and weaker guidance for January led us to lower the Revenue target to $105.7 billion.

It now appears that our initial estimate was closer to the truth.  Our model now estimates that Net Income for the quarter were around $3.9 billion ($0.98 per share), including litigation settlement charges related to wage and hour class action lawsuits

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