Wal-Mart Stores reported lower earnings that missed expectations as sales at flagship US stores edged lower due to cold winter weather.

Earnings in the first quarter for Wal-Mart came in at $3.6 billion, down 5% on the same period last year.

"Like other retailers in the United States, the unseasonably cold and disruptive weather negatively impacted US sales and drove operating expenses higher than expected," said Walmart chief executive Doug McMillon.

Revenues rose 7.5% to $115 billion, below the $116.3 billion forecast by analysts.

Profits translated into $1.10 per share, five cents shy of expectations.

"Walmart's underlying business is solid, and I'm confident in our long-term strategies," Mr McMillon added. 

Comparable store sales in the US from its namesake Walmart stores and Sam's Club warehouses declined 0.2% from the year-ago period. Those two categories account for more than 70% of Wal-Mart's revenues.

Sales in Wal-Mart's international division dipped 1.4% to $32.4 billion.
Wal-Mart projected that second quarter earnings per share would be between $1.15 and $1.25. Analysts have forecast $1.28.

Shares of Wal-Mart declined 3.4% to $76.07 in pre-market trade.