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Walmart’s strong Q1 same-store sales growth

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Company's best performance by that metric in nine years

Walmart’s strong Q1 same-store sales growth
BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Walmart on Thursday reported first quarter net income of $3.84 billion as revenue rose 1% to $123.9 billion.

U.S. same-store sales increased 3.4% in the 13 weeks ended April 30. That was the best performance by that metric in nine years, the company said.

Net sales in the United States increased 3.3%. At Sam’s Club, net sales rose 1.5%. International sales declined 4.9%. On a constant currency basis, net sales overseas increased 1.2%.

Digital sales grew 37%, boosted by its home and fashion businesses, Walmart said. That was better than the 33% gain in online sales in the year-earlier quarter.

Walmart, which has been on an acquisition spree to strengthen its digital business, said it is targeting e-commerce sales growth of 35% for the full year, which would represent a slight decline from last year’s increase.

Walmart said the first quarter results put the company in position to meet its full-year financial goals.

“We’re changing to enable more innovation, speed and productivity, and we’re seeing it in our results,” chief executive officer Doug McMillon said in a statement. “We’re especially pleased with the combination of comparable sales growth from stores and eCommerce in the U.S. Our team is demonstrating an ability to serve customers today while building new capabilities for the future, and I want to thank them for a strong start to the year.”

Walmart said tariffs represent one of the biggest threats it faces this year, with the impact felt most acutely in the apparel and footwear categories. “Increased tariffs will increase prices for customers,” chief financial officer Brett Biggs said on the company’s earnings call.

The company said last year’s decision to stop selling tobacco products at some Sam’s Clubs contributed to the modest 0.3% gain in same-store sales at the membership clubs.

Walmart reported positive comps in Mexico, China and Canada, three of its largest international markets. But U.K. comps were negative due to the timing of Easter. “The deconsolidation of Brazil [where it sold an 80% stake of its underperforming operations to private investors] was a headwind in the quarter, partially offset by sales [in India] from Flipkart,” the company said.

Walmart continues to compete with Amazon.com for the loyalty of digital shoppers. Walmart has an advantage in groceries thanks to the curbside pickup capabilities offered at nearly 2,500 of its stores. The company is on track to offer pickup for online grocery orders at 3,100 stores, and same-day grocery delivery from 1,600 locations, by the end of the year.


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