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Walmart cuts profit outlook on worries

NEW YORK (AP) — Walmart Stores Inc., the world’s biggest retailer, said the weak global economy continues to batter its low-income shoppers.

The chain on Thursday cut its annual profit and revenue outlook for the year after reporting second-quarter results that missed Wall Street estimates. The company’s stock fell nearly 3 percent on the news.

Walmart’s sober assessment adds to worries about consumer spending that arose when Macy’s Inc. lowered its profit expectations for the year after reporting disappointing results on Thursday and Kohl’s Corp. did the same on the following day even after posting solid results.

“The retail environment remains challenging in the U.S. and our international markets, as customers are cautious in their spending,” Holley said in a statement, noting a “reluctance” among customers to spend on things items like flat-screen TVs.

The Bentonville, Ark.-based retailer said second-quarter net income rose 1.3 percent to $4.07 billion, or $1.24 per share, for the three months ended July 31. That compares with $4.02 billion, or $1.18 per share, a year earlier.

Excluding a one-time charge for a certain non-income tax matter, earnings per share would have been $1.25. That matches Wall Street’s estimates.

Net sales rose 2.4 percent to $116.2 billion. That figure excludes membership fees from its Sam’s Club division.

Overall, total sales increased only modestly for Walmart’s U.S. business, Sam’s Club and its international division for the latest quarter. Walmart’s U.S. division posted a total sales increase of 2.1 percent to $68.73 billion, while Sam’s Club saw a 2.6 percent increase to $14.53 billion.

The company’s international business had an increase of 2.9 percent to $32.96 billion.

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