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Last Updated: Thursday, 12 August, 2004, 13:56 GMT 14:56 UK
Wal-Mart earnings beat forecast
Wal-Mart HQ
A "solid" quarter for Wal-Mart
US retail giant Wal-Mart has delivered earnings which beat expectations for the May to July period, helped by strong demand for back-to-school goods.

The world's biggest retailer reported second-quarter profits of $2.7bn (1.47bn), up from $2.3bn a year ago.

"We consider this a solid performance in a difficult retail environment," said chief executive Lee Scott.

He added that he remained optimistic about the rest of the year, despite high fuel prices hitting consumers.

"Although I am concerned about high gasoline prices, I continue to believe that growth in employment and real income will lessen the impact," Mr Scott said.

He noted that Wal-Mart's profits grew faster than sales, thanks to cheaper sourcing overseas and a rise in sales of high profit-margin goods, such as back-to-school materials.

Wal-Mart's sales during the quarter were $69.7bn, up 11.3% on the previous year.

Sales at stores open at least a year - known as same-store sales and regarded as a more reliable measure of performance - were up a more modest 4.1%.

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