Walmart earnings edge higher amid headwinds

US retail giant Walmart reported Thursday that its first quarter earnings edged higher to $3.8 billion but said comparable sales at its US stores declined.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. said its net income was up 1.1 percent from the previous year's $3.7 billion. Net income per share came in at $1.14, compared with analyst expectations of $1.15.

Walmart said its US comparable store sales declined 1.4 percent due to a delay in income tax refund checks, "challenging" weather, lower-than-expected grocery inflation and payroll tax increases.

"In a quarter marked by considerable headwinds to top line sales, Walmart delivered solid earnings per share growth of 4.6 percent," Mike Duke, chief executive of Walmart, said in a statement.

Comparable store sales at Walmart's Sam's Club chain rose 0.2 percent in the quarter, excluding fuel sales.

Walmart said its second quarter earnings per share would be between $1.22 and $1.27 per share, below the $1.29 estimated by analysts.

Walmart said it expects expenses in the second quarter related to bribery investigations under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act expected to range from $65-70 million.