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Tuesday, 13 August, 2002, 13:09 GMT 14:09 UK
Wal-Mart profits up 26%
Shoppers in Chicago
Will customers keep flocking to the shops?
The world's biggest retailer, Wal-Mart, said customers flocked to its stores in the three months to July, helping to lift profits by 26%.

The company said it made net profits of $2.04bn (1.3bn), compared with $1.62bn a year earlier.


For the first time in our history, we generated over $2bn in net income in a non-holiday quarter

Lee Scott
Wal-Mart president
Wal-Mart, which operates more than 3,000 US stores, reported a 13% rise in sales to $59.69bn. Sales at stores open at least a year rose by 6.4%.

But there are signs that consumer spending is faltering.

Less than a week ago the company reported disappointing sales for the month of July.

Falling shares

Wal-Mart said sales of summer merchandise had been slow and back-to-school spending had not yet increased.

But it said its three-monthly figures were record-breaking.

"For the first time in our history, we generated over $2bn in net income in a non-holiday quarter," said president and chief executive Lee Scott.

The company's shares have performed more or less in line with other blue-chip stocks in recent months.

In the second quarter its shares fell 13%.

Department store losses

Another big retailer, J.C. Penney, managed to reduce its losses in the three months to the end of July.

Penney, which runs its namesake department stores as well as the Eckerd drugstore chain, has been struggling to win market share.

But it said a new buying system was helping to improve its profit margins.

The company posted a loss of $6m and said sales fell to $7.20bn from $7.21bn, a year ago.

Since the beginning of July JC Penney shares have fallen 19.7%.

See also:

13 Aug 02 | Business
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