On Feb. 20, Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) released full-year earnings for the period ended Jan. 31.

  • Wal-Mart mentioned throughout the year that it was focused on inventory management, and its working capital performance for the year shows the company's efforts were largely successful. Inventory growing at less than half the pace of sales is particularly impressive.
  • Operating cash flow increased by 14.3%, and free cash flow by 44.9%. If only free cash flow from continuing operations is considered, the performance would be more impressive.
  • Wal-Mart is a two-star stock in Motley Fool CAPS, our new interactive stock database.

(Figures in millions, except per-share data)

Income Statement Highlights

FY 2006

FY 2005

Change

Sales

$348,650

$312,101

11.7%

Net Profit

$11,284

$11,231

0.5%

EPS

$2.71

$2.68

1.1%

Diluted Shares

4,168

4,188

(0.5%)



Get back to basics with a look at the income statement.

Margin Checkup

FY 2006

FY 2005

Change*

Gross Margin

24.24%

23.86%

0.38

Operating Margin

5.88%

6.00%

(0.12)

Net Margin

3.24%

3.60%

(0.36)

*Expressed in percentage points.

Margins are the earnings engine. See how they work.

Balance Sheet Highlights

Assets

FY 2006

FY 2005

Change

Cash + ST Invest.

$7,373

$6,193

19.1%

Accounts Rec.

$2,840

$2,575

10.3%

Inventory

$33,685

$31,910

5.6%



Liabilities

FY 2006

FY 2005

Change

Accounts Payable

$28,090

$25,101

11.9%

Long-Term Debt

$27,222

$26,429

3.0%



Learn the ways of the balance sheet.

Cash Flow Highlights

FY 2006

FY 2005

Change

Cash From Ops.

$20,164

$17,635

14.3%

Capital Expenditures

$15,666

$14,530

7.8%

Free Cash Flow

$4,498

$3,105

44.9%



Find out why Fools always follow the money.

Related Companies:

  • Target (NYSE:TGT)
  • Costco (NASDAQ:COST)
  • BJ's Wholesale Club (NYSE:BJ)

Related Foolishness:

Wal-Mart is a Motley Fool Inside Value selection. Costco is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor selection.

Fool by Numbers is designed to give you the raw earnings information in a timely fashion, putting all the numbers you need in one easy-to-read place. But at The Motley Fool, we believe numbers tell only part of the story, so check Fool.com for more of our in-depth discussion of what the numbers mean.

At the time of publication, Nathan Parmelee owned shares in Costco and had a beneficial interest in shares of Wal-Mart. He had no position in any of the other companies mentioned. Fool rules are here.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.