Walmart Inc. said U.S. online sales were up 27% year over year in the first quarter of fiscal 2024.
Ecommerce remained a bright spot for the quarter ended April 28, 2023. Total U.S. comparable sales excluding fuel for the first quarter grew more slowly, up 8.2% year over year. International results were similar, with ecommerce sales up 25% and comparable sales up 12.9%.
U.S. and international ecommerce sales growth were driven by gains in curbside pickup and delivery, Walmart said in a statement.
“We had a strong quarter. … We leveraged expenses, expanded operating margin, and grew profit ahead of sales,” CEO Doug McMillon said in a press release. “And a big thank you to our associates, who continue to step up and deliver for customers and members whenever and however they want to be served.”
Total revenue, including advertising, in-store, and online sales, was up 7.6% for the quarter. Walmart’s $152.3 billion revenue exceeded Wall Street expectations of $148.76 billion.
The big box retailer also reported net income of $1.67 billion in Q1, an 18.5% decline from $2.0 billion in Q1 the previous year.
Walmart ranks No. 2 in the Top 1000 database for online sales, behind only Amazon.
Sam’s Club, Walmart’s membership-based warehouse chain, reported ecommerce sales grew 19% in the quarter driven by curbside orders. Like Walmart overall, comparable sales excluding fuel grew more slowly than ecommerce, up 7%. Membership reached an all-time high, Walmart said.
Walmart+ continued to grow, the retailer said, with nearly 50% of new members joining through pickup and delivery services. Members shop more frequently and spend more per trip, the company said. Walmart declined to share specific figures for Walmart+.
General merchandise sales in the U.S. declined “mid-single digits” Executive vice president and chief financial officer John David Rainey told investors, declining to share a specific figure. Food and consumable sales, however, increased “low double digits.”
Walmart once again gained market share in grocery, and it made gains with higher income and younger shoppers, Rainey said.
“Customers are being cautious with their spending in discretionary categories,” he said, even as inflation decreased during the quarter.
Walmart has higher margins on general merchandise compared with food, meaning the shift toward grocery can slow profit growth. Rainey said Walmart expects this trend to continue through the end of the year.
Unusually cool spring weather negatively impacted garden and outdoor sales, he said.
Guidance for 2023
Walmart projected higher sales for the rest of the year after beating expectations in Q1. The retailer said it expects consolidated net sales to increase 4% in Q2, with consolidated operating income down 2%.
For the full year, Walmart expects consolidated net sales to grow approximately 3.5, with operating income up 4 to 4.5%.
Rainey explained the retailer’s reasoning behind updated guidance.
“In addition to the persistence of inflation in food and consumables, customers were also impacted by a reduction of SNAP benefits and lower tax refunds,” Rainey said. “These impacts were partially offset by higher spending due to a cost of living adjustment for social security benefits.”
Walmart Q1 2024 financial results
For the fiscal first quarter ended April 28, Walmart reported:
- Walmart U.S. ecommerce sales grew 27% year over year.
- Comparable U.S. sales grew 8.2% over the year-ago period.
- Total global revenue grew 7.6% to $152.3 billion.
- Net income declined 18.5% to $1.67 billion.
Percentage changes may not align exactly with dollar figures due to rounding.
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