Walmart food sales ride on holiday, on-line activity

by Jeff Gelski
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Food saw strong topline results despite minimal inflation, according to Walmart.

BENTONVILLE, Ark. – The US grocery business of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. benefitted from e-commerce activity and strong holiday sales in the third quarter ended Oct. 31. 

Greg Foran, president and CEO of Walmart US
Greg Foran, president and CEO of Wal-Mart US

“In e-commerce, we made strides on deepening the digital relationship with our customers,” said Greg Foran, president and CEO of Wal-Mart US, in a Nov. 17 earnings call. “This quarter, we accelerated our on-line grocery pick-up offering to 85 additional locations. We now have almost 140 locations across 25 markets that offer the customer the ability to order their groceries on-line and conveniently pick up at a time of their closing.”

Food saw strong topline results despite minimal inflation, he said.

“Momentum from a solid Labor Day weekend continued through to Halloween,” Foran said. “We are particularly pleased with the results in fresh, where we brought in new products, developed strong price leadership through strategic buys and promoted locally sourced and organic product.”

Walmart continues to increase its on-line presence internationally as well.

“We continue to learn from our on-line grocery business in the UK as we test and roll out similar initiatives in Mexico and Canada and build a strong platform for growth in China,” said David Cheesewright, president and CEO of Wal-Mart International.

Wal-Mart Stores reported net income of $3.304 billion, or earnings per share of $1.03 on the common stock, in the third quarter, which was down 11 percent from $3.711 billion, or earnings per share of $1.15, in the third quarter of the previous year. Currency negatively impacted earnings per share by 4 cents. Total revenues for the third quarter were $117.408 billion, down 1.3 percent from $119.001 billion in the previous year’s third quarter.

Net income of $10.120 billion, or earnings per share of $3.14, for the nine-month period ended Oct. 31 was down 11 percent from $11.397 billion, or $3.53 per share, during the same time period of the previous year. Total revenues for the nine months ended Oct. 31 were $352.463 billion, down 0.5 percent from $354.086 billion in the same time period of the previous year.

Walmart expects earnings per share of $4.50 to $4.67 for the fiscal year, which would compare to $4.99 per share last year.

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