Who Knew?

Wal-Mart Triumphant

The auto industry fails, the financial industry goes kaput, and Wal-Mart is surging. That's the news out of Arkansas, where the world's largest retailer has reported a 10 percent increase in third-quarter profits, exceeding expectations. Wal-Mart earned $3.14 billion, or 80 cents a share, in the quarter ending October 31. Analysts had expected that number to be 76 cents per share. "At a time when our customer is feeling the pressure of a tough economy, Wal-Mart's price leadership is more important than ever," said CEO Lee Scott. Despite all this good news, the super supermarket is downgrading fourth quarter expectations by 6 cents per share on the expectation that a strengthening dollar and troubled global economy will negatively impact international sales. But for today at least, Bentonville-based executives can pop the cork on a few bottles of $1.99 champagne and celebrate their success.