CHICAGO – Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT) on Thursday said Hurricanes Katrina and Rita would likely trim 1 cent per share from its quarterly profit, but it still expects earnings in the range of 55 to 59 cents per share.
Analysts, on average, expect Wal-Mart to earn 58 cents per share in the fiscal third quarter that ends in October, according to Reuters Estimates.
The world's biggest retailer confirmed that its September sales rose 3.8 percent at U.S. stores open at least a year, helped by demand for cleaning supplies, basic apparel and hardware as victims recovered from the hurricanes.
Wal-Mart, which had provided an initial sales figure on Saturday, said total sales for the five weeks ended September 30 rose 9.7 percent to $28.24 billion.
The retailer, based in Bentonville, Ark., said its Sam's Club (search) warehouse stores benefited from sales of currently high-priced gasoline at its filling stations. Same-store sales at Sam's Club rose 9.8 percent but would have been up only 6.3 percent without gasoline sales.
Total U.S. same-store sales excluding gasoline would have been up 3.2 percent, Wal-Mart said.
For October, Wal-Mart said it expects a 2 percent to 4 percent same-store sales increase. The retailer has vowed to cut prices aggressively this holiday season to lure shoppers, setting the stage for what analysts expect will be a fiercely competitive shopping period.