Wal-Mart US store sales exceed expectations

by Monica Watrous
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 Walmart
More customers shopped at Wal-Mart US stores in the recent quarter.
 

BENTONVILLE, Ark. — More customers shopped at Wal-Mart US stores in the recent quarter, contributing to better-than-expected results in the segment.

Net income attributable to Wal-Mart Stores Inc. in the year ended Jan. 31 was $13,643 million, equal to $4.40 per share on the common stock, which was down 7.2 percent from $14,694 million, or $4.58, in the prior year. Total revenues were $485,873 million, up 0.8 percent from $482,130 million. In constant currency, total revenue increased 3.1 percent over the previous year.

For the fourth quarter, net income attributable to Wal-Mart was $3,757 million, or $1.23 per share, down 18 percent from $4,574 million, or $1.44 per share, in the year-ago period. Total revenues were $130,936 million, up 1 percent from $129,667 million. In constant currency, total revenue increased 3 percent.

Wal-Mart US comparable sales increased 1.8 percent in the fourth quarter, driven by a traffic increase of 1.4 percent.

Brett Biggs
Brett Biggs, executive vice president and CFO of Wal-Mart

“We're pleased with the continued momentum in Wal-Mart US with steady improvement in stores, strong growth from e-commerce and growing contributions from the roll-out of on-line grocery,” said Brett Biggs, executive vice president and CFO, in a Feb. 21 earnings call. “We’ve now seen nine consecutive quarters of traffic growth in our stores. Clearly, we’re gaining traction, and it’s exciting to see how customers are responding to our focus on saving them time and money.”

All store formats in the segment posted positive comparable sales, with Neighborhood Market comparable sales up 5 percent, and e-commerce contributed approximately 40 basis points, Biggs added.

“We were particularly pleased with the positive comp in grocery despite ongoing market deflation in food, which negatively impacted the food comp by approximately 90 basis points,” he said.

 Walmart
Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market comparable sales were up 5 percent.
 

Sam’s Club comparable sales, excluding fuel, increased 2.4 percent in the fourth quarter, as efforts to transform the business began to bear fruit.

“We’re making progress in a number of areas, and we know we have to move faster to provide the value that members expect,” Biggs said.

Wal-Mart’s international business produced “solid sales performance” in the quarter, led by strong sales momentum in Mexico, market share gains in Canada and solid performance in China that offset weakness in the United Kingdom.

Looking ahead, the company will continue to invest in e-commerce to accelerate growth, said Doug McMillon, president and CEO.

Doug McMillon
Doug  McMillion, president and CEO of Wal-Mart

“We are the second-largest US online retailer by revenue, one of the top three online retailers by traffic, and our Wal-Mart app is among the top three apps in retail,” McMillon said.

“As I step back and look at the retail landscape, customer expectations continue to change rapidly,” he added. “They will increasingly expect even more personalization and convenience in their shopping experience. We're moving quickly to respond to the current opportunities as well as to innovate and transform the shopping experience for our customers in the future.”

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