However, the largest retailer in the world issued a profit outlook for the fourth quarter that missed Wall Street estimates due to expected deep discounting during the holidays.
The quarter marked two complete years of declines in store traffic at Wal-Mart U.S. stores.
JC Penney, Kohl’s and Macy’s all posted results during this week that showed their shoppers were still cautious heading toward the holiday shopping season.
Wal-Mart is in itself a barometer for consumer spending. Its challenges are a reflection of the struggles of it shoppers that are low income, who have become squeezed due to stagnant wages and lower food stamps offered by state governments.
However, Wal-Mart said there is potential help: Gas prices falling that could help put additional money into the pockets of shoppers.
To earn its shares of the dollars spent during the holidays, Wal-Mart has announced a plan that is very aggressive, which includes free shipping on 100 items and cuts in prices for 20,000 products.
Starting November 14, Wal-Mart will match prices online at Amazon in its own stores. Managers of 50% of Wal-Mart stores had already started to offer the price matching, but now the policy is official.
Doug McMillon the CEO, who took over this past February, said the price leader is a priority for Wal-Mart that is ongoing and with each year, it becomes even more important at the time of the holiday shopping season.
McMillon added that he is encouraged by an increase in sales at Wal-Mart stores, but he is not satisfied with overall performance.
Wal-Mart posted earnings of just over $3.71 billion equal to $1.15 a share, in the quarter that ended October 31.
Wal-Mart, which is Bentonville, Arkansas, based reported revenue of over $119 billion for that period, which beat forecasts on Wall Street that were expecting $18.4 billion.
The discount division for Wal-Mart in the U.S. posted an increase of 0.5% for revenue in stores that were opened 13 months or more. That increase represented the first for the past seven quarters.