Walmart US bright spot as profits top estimates

Walmart's (NYSE:WMT) profits beat analyst expectations for the third quarter, thanks to solid same-store sales gains and increase in foot traffic as the retailer begins reaping the rewards of its store improvement program.

The retailer's overall sales performance wasn't all positive, but sales at U.S. stores increased 3.8 percent to $72.7 billion. Same-store sales increased 1.5 percent, the fifth consecutive quarter for growth.

 Full Walmart Q3 performance infographic

Walmart began a year-long quest to improve stores last year under the guidance of its new CEO, Doug McMillon. Nearly 75 percent of its stores now meet the company's standards for customer service, cleanliness and convenience. In February, that number was just 16 percent, according to Bloomberg.

Walmart also announced plans in February to raise wages for 500,000 employees, a move seen as a potential drain on profits.

McMillon's efforts to modernize U.S. stores, introduce new digital initiatives and grow smaller formats has paid off but, "We still have plenty of work to do," he said on a conference call with analysts. "There are areas of our business that must perform better."

For more:
-See the Walmart financial report
-Read the Bloomberg story

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