Walmart finishes off strong year with holiday quarter sales uplift

(Source: Bigstock)

Walmart posted consolidated revenue of $173.4 billion for the fourth quarter, up 5.7 per cent year on year.

The company’s operating income surged 30.4 per cent, while global e-commerce sales grew 23 per cent.

“Over the holiday period, Walmart pulled out all the stops to offer the American consumer great value for money and, from our data, this has clearly paid dividends with the highest number of US shoppers ever using Walmart for at least part of their holiday food and essentials shopping,” commented Neil Saunders, MD of GlobalData.

The retailer recorded a 3.4 per cent uplift in US sales, supported by a 4 per cent increase in comparables sales. Saunders noted the company is growing underlying volumes given food inflation is now moderating.

“This is a big comfort as it suggests that the chain will continue to make some progress even as inflation drops back further and faster.”

However, the analyst believes Walmart is struggling to keep the momentum going, evidenced by the decelerating sales growth over the past year and a half. He attributed this to the continued financial pressure on core shoppers and modest customer acquisition, which may continue in the year ahead.

To battle these challenges, the company has prepared a series of initiatives, along with new store openings and improvement of existing ones. Saunders also highlighted the importance of the advertising business through Walmart Connect, which grew 33 per cent globally in the final quarter.

For the full year, Walmart saw revenue rise 6 per cent to $648.1 billion, with operating income up 32.2 per cent. The firm’s e-commerce sales surpassed $100 billion.

The company expects net sales to be up 4-5 per cent in the first quarter of FY25 and up 3-4 per cent for the entire year.

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