BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Walmart demonstrated its appeal to American shoppers in the fourth quarter with solid same-store sales growth at Walmart U.S. and Sam’s Club.
The better-than-expected fourth quarter financial results reflected strength across a range of product categories, including toys, home, seasonal, electronics and grocery. Digital sales were up 43% in the quarter and 40% for the full year.
Officials said U.S. same-store traffic increased for the 17th consecutive quarter. Sales at stores open at least a year, which exclude gas but include e-commerce, rose 4.2%, compared to 2.6% a year earlier.
Sam’s Club posted a 3.3% increase in fourth quarter comparable-store sales. The warehouse club’s digital sales rose 21%.
After adjustments, Walmart reported a quarterly profit of $3.69 billion for the quarter ended January 31, compared with $2.18 billion a year earlier. For the full year, Walmart U.S. had revenue of $331.7 billion, up 4% from the prior year. Comp sales increased 3.6%.
“We had a good year,” Doug McMillon, Walmart’s president and chief executive officer, said in an earnings call with analysts. “Progress on initiatives to accelerate growth, along with a favorable economic environment, helped us deliver strong comp sales and gain market share.”
Sam’s Club posted net sales of $14.9 billion in the fourth quarter, a 3.7% decline that officials attributed primarily to club closures. Despite having 10% fewer outlets, membership stayed relatively flat compared to the comparable period a year earlier.
Net sales for Walmart International declined to $32.3 billion in the quarter, down 2.3%. On a constant currency basis, sales were $34 billion, up 2.7% from a year earlier. Operating income was $1.2 billion, down 9.9%. For the full year, Walmart International had revenue of $120.8 billion, up 2.3% year over year. Operating income for the segment was $4.9 billion, a decline of 6.6% from fiscal 2018.
Walmart expects U.S. sales growth of 3%, excluding fuel, in fiscal 2020. Digital sales are projected to rise 35% .