Wal-Mart reported a jump in third-quarter profit. (Tim Boyle / Getty Images )
Retail giant Wal-Mart Stores Inc. reported a jump in third-quarter profit but warned that future growth could be hampered by a shaky global economy.
For the three months ended Oct. 31, the world's biggest retailer said profit was $3.63 billion, or $1.08 a share, up 9% from $3.33 billion, or 96 cents a share, in the same period a year ago.
Excluding Sam's Clubs memberships, net sales climbed 3.4% to $113.2 billion.
Wal-Mart said that sales at U.S. stores open at least a year, an important measure of a retailer's health because it excludes the effect of openings and closings, grew 1.5%, falling below Wall Street expectations of a 1.8% increase.
But the company said an unstable economy is still putting the squeeze on the retailer's lower-income shoppers.
Charles Holley, the retailer's chief financial officer, said "current macroeconomic conditions continue to pressure our customers."
"The holiday season is predicted to be very competitive, but we are well prepared to deliver on the value and low prices our customers expect," Holley said in a Thursday statement.
The retailer narrowed its forecast for the full fiscal year and delivered a fourth-quarter outlook that fell below Wall Street expectations.
For the four quarter, it predicts earning between $1.53 and $1.58 a share. Its full-year earnings are forecast to be between $4.88 and $4.93 a share, compared to its original forecast of $4.83 and $4.93 a share.
Shares of Wal-Mart dropped $2.79, or 3.9%, to $68.52 in midday trading Thursday.
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