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Walmart posts robust Q4 revenue growth

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Company cited strength across a range of categories

BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Walmart on Tuesday reported strong profit and revenue figures for the holiday quarter, citing strength across a range of product categories and a 43% surge in digital sales.

Revenue was up 1.9% to $138.8 billion in the fiscal fourth quarter. Excluding currency fluctuations, year-on-year revenue growth was 4.2%.

Walmart U.S. posted its strongest comparable sales increase in nine years, with comps up 4.2% at stores open at least a year, compared to 3.4% in the previous quarter.

The company reported net income for the quarter ended January 31 of $3.69 billion, or $1.27 per share, compared with $2.18 billion, or 73 cents a share, a year earlier.

Digital sales were boosted by strong grocery sales and bigger baskets. For the full year, e-commerce sales rose 40%. The company has been adding products to its website and acquiring online brands to attract new customers.

“Our fulfillment shipping costs are improving as we continue to enhance our [online] assortment,” chief executive officer Doug McMillon said on a call with analysts and investors. “Repeat visits should increase and contribute to improving profitability.”

The company is targeting e-commerce sales growth of 35% for fiscal 2020. Walmart said it would continue to invest in e-commerce this year. Other capital spending priorities include store remodels and supply chain advances.

McMillon said “a favorable economic environment” has been helping Walmart grow sales and take market share from rivals.

Sam’s Club posted a 3.3% increase in fourth quarter comparable-store sales. The warehouse club’s digital sales rose 21%.

Net sales at Walmart International declined 2.3% to $32.3 billion. Excluding currency factors, net sales at the international division increased 2.7% in the quarter.

For the full year, Walmart notched revenue of $514.4 billion, a figure that represents a 2.8% increase from a year earlier. Excluding currency fluctuations, companywide revenue rose 3%.

Walmart U.S. comps increased 3.6% in the 52-week period.

The company said it is maintaining its sales outlook for the current fiscal year.

“To us, the consumer looks like they’re in pretty good shape,” chief financial officer Brett Biggs said. “We’re always monitoring the consumer and are ready to act if things change, but we feel our guidance is good for the next year, and our business model works well in most environments.”


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