Wal-Mart's second-quarter profits surged 17%, spurred by bargain-hunting shoppers and tax-rebate checks, reports Bloomberg. The world’s largest retailer also revised its full-year estimates upward, while cautioning that rising energy and food costs make the outlook more volatile from week to week. The company said its net income rose to $3.45 billion from $2.95 billion a year ago.
Wal-Mart had lured tax-rebate spenders by offering to cash the checks for free, and had dressed up displays of things like flat-panel TVs and apparel to attract consumers trading down from other retailers. "In the US, they've undertaken a big turnaround," one fund manager tells Bloomberg. "Their stores are cleaner and better stocked.'' Nationwide, sales at retailers dropped in July for the first time in five months.