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Wal-Mart's Still Stalled Out

Alyce Lomax
May 17, 2011

Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT  ) shareholders must wait a little longer for the retail giant to turn the tide. Although the company says its attempts to jump-start U.S. sales are gaining traction, you won't find any of that progress in its quarterly financials.

First-quarter net income increased 3.8% to $3.4 billion, or $0.97 per share. Revenue increased 4.4%, to $103.4 billion. However, Wal-Mart's U.S. same-store sales figure, the metric we've all been focused on, fell 1.1%. This marks the eighth consecutive quarter in which Wal-Mart's U.S. comps have decreased.

If you're looking for a bright spot, Wal-Mart's international sales jumped 11.5%, to nearly $28 billion. The company described its international business as a "growth engine." That's good, since the U.S. engine appears to have stalled, and doesn't want to start up again.

As much as Wal-Mart's international growth is helpful, ongoing attempts to add fuel to that particular growth engine won't always work out as planned. For example, it's currently grappling with difficult terms related to purchasing South Africa's Massmart, and it might retreat from that m