Walmart Tops Views, Raises Outlook As E-Commerce and Grocery Sales Drive Growth

Tucson, AZ July 21, 2019: Walmart Store Building Sign.
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Walmart raised its full-year outlook Tuesday after cruising past first-quarter earnings expectations. The big-box retailer benefited from a strong e-commerce performance and robust grocery sales.

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Adjusted earnings for the quarter came in at $1.69 a share, CNBC reported, which topped consensus analyst estimates of $1.21. Walmart posted overall revenue of $138.31 billion vs. estimates of $131.97 billion. The company’s stock price climbed more than 4% in pre-market trading Tuesday.

In a statement on Walmart’s Q1 earnings release, Walmart CEO Doug McMillon said the company is particularly upbeat now that more consumers are returning to pre-pandemic shopping patterns.

“Every segment performed well, and we’re encouraged by traffic and grocery market share trends,” McMillon said. “Our optimism is higher than it was at the beginning of the year. In the U.S., customers clearly want to get out and shop.”

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Here are some of the key takeaways from the quarter:

  • eCommerce sales grew 37% from the prior year, with strong results across all channels. eCommerce sales have more than doubled over the last two years.
  • Walmart U.S. comparable-store sales climbed 6%, thanks in part to market share gains in the grocery business.
  • Sam’s Club comp sales rose 7.2% year-over-year, with the brand’s eCommerce sales climbing 47%.
  • Walmart International net sales declined 8.3% from a year earlier even as eCommerce sales increased 49%. Net sales were negatively impacted by $4.2 billion related to recent divestitures.
  • The company raised its outlook for the current quarter and full year, saying that it expects EPS and Walmart U.S.’s operating income to increase in the high single-digits. It maintained its guidance that Walmart U.S. and Sam’s Club same-store sales will grow in the low single-digits, excluding fuel and tobacco.

Walmart officials are expected to update progress on the company’s Walmart+ subscription service in later comments, CNBC reported on Monday. The service launched in September, but Walmart has yet to share subscriber numbers. The subscription plan is considered an important piece of Walmart’s growth as the retailer tries to ward off competition from Amazon Prime.

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About the Author

Vance Cariaga is a London-based writer, editor and journalist who previously held staff positions at Investor’s Business Daily, The Charlotte Business Journal and The Charlotte Observer. His work also appeared in Charlotte Magazine, Street & Smith’s Sports Business Journal and Business North Carolina magazine. He holds a B.A. in English from Appalachian State University and studied journalism at the University of South Carolina. His reporting earned awards from the North Carolina Press Association, the Green Eyeshade Awards and AlterNet. In addition to journalism, he has worked in banking, accounting and restaurant management. A native of North Carolina who also writes fiction, Vance’s short story, “Saint Christopher,” placed second in the 2019 Writer’s Digest Short Short Story Competition. Two of his short stories appear in With One Eye on the Cows, an anthology published by Ad Hoc Fiction in 2019. His debut novel, Voodoo Hideaway, was published in 2021 by Atmosphere Press.
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