- Walmart's first quarter earnings and revenue beat forecasts.
- Rising prices boosted consumer demand for groceries, while discretionary spending slowed.
- The retailer raised its full-year profit and sales outlook.
Walmart (WMT) posted better-than-expected results and raised its guidance as rising prices drove more shoppers to the discount retailer.
Walmart reported fiscal 2024 first quarter earnings per share (EPS) of $1.47, with revenue rising 7.6% to $152.3 billion. Both were above analysts’ forecasts. At Walmart U.S., comparable store sales were 7.4% higher, and ecommerce sales soared 27%, boosted by pickup and delivery, along with advertising. Transactions increased 2.9%, and the average ticket was 4.4% higher.The company noted a big jump in grocery sales, lifted by purchases by higher-income customers and demand for Walmart’s lower-cost private label brands. Pharmacy sales climbed, but Walmart said general merchandise sales “reflected softness in discretionary categories.” CEO Doug McMillon pointed to the impact of inflation on consumer behavior, adding customers “are coming to us for value.” Walmart now anticipates full-year consolidated net sales will rise about 3.5%, up from the previous 2.5% to 3%, and EPS of $6.10 to $6.20 compared to its earlier outlook of $5.90 to $6.05. Shares of Walmart rose 1.5% on Thursday following the news, and are up 7% so far this year. The S&P 500 is up about 9% year-to-date.