Retail giant Walmart posted fiscal 2019 fourth quarter results that topped expectations amid strong holiday spending and U.S. eCommerce sales that logged 43 percent growth year over year.
Headline numbers show that within the United States, same store comparable sales for the quarter that ended in January, excluding fuel purchases, were up 4.2 percent. Expectations, including those of the company itself, had seen roughly 3 percent for the period. The company pointed toward particular strength in grocery and spending on toys during the holiday season.
Management also said on the post-earnings call with analysts that same store sales were buoyed by the SNAP activity — short for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program — where checks had been sent out in January, amid the government shutdown. SNAP-related activity helped boot comp results by several basis points.
With a nod to the current economic climate, management, including CEO Doug McMillon and CFO Brett Biggs, said that the U.S. consumer spending remains strong, where unemployment and gas prices are low and wage growth has continued. Additionally, management stated that the firm has taken market share in categories including grocery, health, wellness and toys. Biggs said the company’s business model “works well” across most economic environments.
Getting a bit more granular, the company said that eCommerce sales were up 43 percent year on year.
Total Walmart sales in the U.S. were $90.5 billion, up 4.6 percent, with comp sales up 4.2 percent, traffic up 90 basis points and the comparable ticket up 3.3 percent. The company said that eCommerce offered up 180 basis points to that comp sales growth in the U.S. Breaking down segment performance, grocery sales were up mid single digit percentages, health and wellness was up low single digits and general merchandise up mid single digits.
The company said that Walmart International sales were $32.3 billion, up 2.7 percent, with positive comps in three of its four largest markets, spanning Mexico, the U.K. and Canada. China was down slightly due in part to a calendar shift in the Mid-Autumn Festival, and a slower economic environment in that country. Walmex was the fastest growing segment at 3.8 percent growth year over year.
Walmart also said that Sam’s Club comp sales were up 3.3 percent, and comp traffic was 6.4 percent. eCommerce sales attributable to Sam’s Club were up 21 percent and private brand sales reached a 26 penetration rate, the company said in its materials.
Earnings per share were $1.41, where $1.33 was expected. Revenues of $138.8 billion topped $138.7 billion projected by the Street.