Tags: Wal-Mart | Stores | prospers | WMT

Wal-Mart Stores Prospers Through U.S. Rough Patch

By    |   Monday, 21 May 2012 11:33 AM

Wal-Mart Stores (WMT) has managed to prosper through the rough patch of the U.S. recession and its agonizingly slow recovery. Management recently reiterated its support of the stock’s strong dividend yield, too, through increases and stock buybacks.

Wal-Mart Stores is the dominant global retailer, with fiscal year net sales of $443.9 billion. The company reports three segments: Walmart U.S., Walmart International, and Sam’s Club, a warehouse store format.

The Walmart U.S. segment is largest, accounting for approximately 60 percent of fiscal 2012 net sales. Wal-Mart Stores operates retail stores in various formats in all 50 states in the United States and Puerto Rico, as well as Walmart’s online retail operations, Walmart.com.

The Walmart International segment consists of retail operations in 26 countries and accounts for approximately 28 percent of sales. The segment includes numerous formats of retail stores, restaurants, Sam’s Clubs and online retail operations that operate outside the United States.

Finally, the Sam’s Club segment consists of membership warehouse clubs operated in 47 states in the United States and Puerto Rico, as well as the segment’s online retail operations, SamsClub.com. Sam’s Club accounted for approximately 12 percent of sales.

“Our overall performance reflects the success of Walmart’s business model: driving the productivity loop, leveraging expenses and investing in price leadership. We believe that the momentum throughout our business positions us very well for the rest of the year,” Wal-Mart Stores CEO Mike Duke said following the most recent earnings announcement.

Wal-Mart Stores has a market cap of $212.3 billion in a sector, food and staples retailing, where the average company size is $7.64 billion. Its trailing 12-month P/E ratio is 13.4 and its five-year projected price-to-earnings-growth (PEG) ratio is 1.61, compared to 1.88 for the sector.

Its projected earnings per share growth for the coming year is 8.78 percent, compared to a sector average of 10.89 percent.

Well positioned


Wall Street is bullish on Wal-Mart. Buy or outperform ratings are in place from JP Morgan, Morgan, Keegan & Co., Ned Davis Research, Citigroup, and Standard & Poor’s. Deutsche Bank has the stock as a sell.

“We believe the company is well positioned to benefit from both increased demand due to merchandise improvements in domestic stores and a focus on operations in international markets,” said S&P analysts in a recent report on WMT.

“We see downside risk due to a weak economic environment being somewhat limited, reflecting its low priced offerings of basic discretionary items.”

Wal-Mart Stores next reports on Aug. 18.

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