Walmart Thrills the Street by Posting Strong Holiday Quarter Results

Walmart just showed Amazon who’s boss. The world’s largest retailer posted holiday quarterly results that blew past expectations.

For the fourth quarter, Walmart reported that sales at stores open in the United States for at least a year had jumped 4.2% compared to the period a year ago. This includes a 43% increase in digital sales.

The company cited that online sales got a boost from rolling out grocery pickup to stores across the country and that it expanded delivery to reach more shoppers.

While the government shutdown affected many companies, Walmart wasn’t one of them. In fact, it had a positive impact on the retailer’s earnings. February SNAP benefits had been released early and attributed to a 0.4% rise in sales said Walmart.

Walmart said that it will invest in growing online instead of at its physical stores, planning to open 10 new stores this year alone. Currently the company has over 4,700 stores in the U.S.

The company also wants to add curbside pickup to around 1,000 more stores in 2019.

CEO Doug McMillon said on the earnings call:

“We’re encouraged by our performance for the year, because we believe our customers are noticing our improvements but we continue to see many ways we can serve them better.”

He added, “We’re even more convinced they want us and expect us to bring our stores and eCommerce business together, an additionally connected seamless way that make shopping easier. We experienced a favorable economic environment in the U.S. for much of the year and our associates made a lot happen to draw the strength of our results. Brett will go into more detail on our results shortly.”

McMillon went on to say, “I am particularly encouraged by our sales results in the quarter. In Q4, Walmart U.S. grew comp sales 4.2% excluding fuel, eCommerce sales increased 43% and we gained market share in key categories such as grocery and toys, according to Nielsen and the NPD Group. Sam’s Club finished the year with another strong quarter with comp sales growth of 5.3% excluding fuel and tobacco. And in international, comps were positive in the majority of our markets. Strong top line results allow us to reiterate the FY’20 sales and profit guidance we gave in October, even as we landed FY’19 ahead of where we expected.” “We strive to make every day easier for busy families as we increase convenience and save them money and time. Part of our strategy is to build on our existing strengths, such as having a broad assortment including fresh and perishable foods within 10 miles of 90% of the U.S. population,” he further said.