Groceries, e-commerce lift retailer's sales
BENTONVILLE, Ark. – Walmart today said revenue increased 7.6% to $152.3 billion in its first quarter, topping Wall Street expectations. The company also raised its fiscal 2024 forecast; management now expects consolidated net sales will rise about 3.5% this year. For the current quarter, Walmart forecasts consolidated net sales to increase by about 4%.
First-quarter net income declined to $1.67 billion from $2.05 billion a year earlier. Operating income increased 17.3%, the company said.
“Comp sales were strong globally, with e-commerce up 26%,” noted Doug McMillon, Walmart’s president and chief executive officer. “We leveraged expenses, expanded operating margin, and grew profit ahead of sales.”
Inflation continues to present challenges, McMillon said on an earnings call. Persistently higher prices on everyday essentials is forcing consumers to tighten their belts and leaves them with less money for discretionary purchases.
Walmart U.S. posted sales of $109.3 billion in the first quarter, up 7.2% from the comparable period a year earlier. Walmart International posted first-quarter sales of $26.6 billion, up 12% year on year. Sam’s Club reported sales of $20.5 billion, an increase of 4.5% from a year ago.
E-commerce sales in the United States increased 27% on the strength of pickup and delivery services as well as its Walmart Connect advertising business, where revenue increased 40% in the first quarter.
The retailer’s U.S. unit continues to grow its market share in groceries, the company said, including growth in sales to higher-income households.
Walmart U.S. continued to work down inventory in the quarter while improving its in-stock performance.
Digital sales were also a factor in Walmart International’s first-quarter growth. The unit said e-commerce sales were up 25%, and that ad growth contributed to the performance. China, Walmex and Flipkart were once again the international bellwethers.
Sam’s Club posted a 7% gain in comparable-store sales, led by food and consumables. Transactions increased 2.9% and basket sizes increased 4% on average. Sam’s Club posted a 19% increase in e-commerce sales as more members relied on its curbside pickup service.
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