NEW YORK Wal-Mart Stores Inc.'s (WMT) first quarter profit rose 1.1 percent as the world's largest retailer struggled with a sales slump in its namesake business.
The company, based in Bentonville, Ark., blamed a payroll tax increase, delayed tax refunds and bad weather for the profit and sales results that missed Wall Street expectations.
The company also offered a profit outlook that came below analysts' projections. Wal-Mart's stock fell $1.76, or 2.2 percent, to $78.10 in premarket trading.
Wal-Mart said Thursday that it earned $3.78 billion, or $1.14 per share in the quarter ended April 30. That compared with $3.74 billion, or $1.09 per share, a year earlier.
Sales rose 1 percent to $113.43 billion. That figure excludes Sam's Club membership fees.
The results fell short of Wall Street expectations for earnings of $1.15 per share on revenue of $115.78 billion.
Wal-Mart reported a 1.4 percent drop in revenue at stores open at least a year at its namesake business, its first drop in a year and a half. At Sam's Club, the figure rose a slim 0.2 percent, held down by less traffic from business customers, bad weather and lower-than-expected inflation.
Revenue at stores open at least a year is considered a key measurement for retailers because it excludes the effect of stores that open or close during the year.