Walmart's Third-Quarter Comparable Sales Beat Expectations
Walmart Inc reported better-than-expected third quarter US comparable sales on Thursday as people spent more at its stores and website and the retailer picked up market share in food and other groceries.
The world's largest retailer also raised its annual earnings outlook, sending its shares up over 3% in premarket trade.
Walmart has now posted a 21-quarter, or over five-year, streak of US growth, unmatched by any other retail chain.
Sales at US stores open at least a year rose 3.2%, excluding fuel, in the quarter ended 31 October. Analysts estimated growth of 2.9%, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.
Adjusted earnings per share increased to $1.16 per share, beating expectations of $1.09 per share.
Online sales rose 41%, higher than the previous quarter's increase of 37% and greater than the company's expectation of 35%.
Operating income continued to remain under pressure and fell 5.4% to $4.7 billion (€4.27 billion) as a result of ongoing investments in its e-commerce business.
Walmart’s online expansion has come at a cost to profitability, and losses at the US e-commerce business could rise to about $1.7 billion (€1.6 billion) this year from $1.4 billion (€1.3 billion) in 2018, according to estimates from Morgan Stanley.
Walmart forecast earnings per share, including the impact from its acquisition of Indian e-commerce retailer Flipkart, to increase "slightly" from a year ago.
Total revenue rose 2.5% to $128 billion (€116.4 billion).