Wal-Mart saw a surge in its grocery business in the latest quarter.
BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Wal-Mart Stores Inc. saw a surge in its grocery business in the latest quarter, driven by strong sales of meat, bakery items and produce, said C. Douglas McMillon, president and CEO.

Net income attributable to Wal-Mart Stores in the third quarter ended Oct. 31 was $1,749 million, equal to $0.59 per share on the common stock, down 42 percent from $3,034 million, or $0.98, in the prior-year period. Excluding special items, which included a loss on early extinguishment of debt, an accrual related to a Foreign Corrupt Practices Act matter, and impairment of certain international properties, adjusted earnings per share was $1.

Total revenues of $123,179 million were up 4.2 percent from $118,179 million.

Wal-Mart US operating income rose 0.8 percent to $4,030 million from $3,999 million, and net sales increased 4.3 percent to $77,724 million from $74,550 million.

C. Douglas McMillon, president and CEO of Wal-Mart

“We had a strong quarter with comp sales growth of 2.7 percent and comp traffic growth of 1.5 percent,” McMillon said during a Nov. 16 earnings call. “While we recognize that there are some incremental hurricane-related sales in these numbers, our core business is performing well. Greg Foran and the team continue to improve our US stores.

“Across almost all categories, we’re seeing growth. The food business, in particular, has accelerated and delivered the strongest quarterly comp sales performance in almost six years with our fresh meat, bakery and produce teams leading the way. Expense leverage has also been a priority, and we’re pleased that the segment leveraged expenses in the third quarter.”

The company has expanded online grocery to more than 1,100 stores, with plans to roll out to 1,000 more locations next year, he said.

Wal-mart has expanded online grocery to more than 1,100 stores.
“Wal-Mart US e-commerce sales were up 50 percent this quarter, with the majority of the increase through,” McMillon said. “Existing customers have become advocates for popular initiatives like online grocery and free two-day shipping. And as a result, new customers, suppliers and partnerships are coming to Wal-Mart. The expanded assortment on has also contributed to growth. Over the past year, we’ve tripled the number of items on to reach more than 70 million SKUs today.”

Based on strong year-to-date performance, the company raised its guidance for full-year adjusted earnings per share to a range of $4.38 to $4.46, up from a previous target of $4.30 to $4.40.