WALMART STREAK REACHES 21 MONTHS               

By Todd Horwitz 

Walmart Continues Growth Streak

American consumers showed no signs of belt-tightening in sales results from Walmart Inc., offering comfort to retailers worried about fallout from the trade war and the health of the global economy as the holiday shopping season nears.

Walmart said its U.S. comparable sales, those from stores and websites operating for at least 12 months, rose 3.2% in the period ended Oct. 25, marking a five-year streak of quarterly sales gains. Its e-commerce sales in the U.S. rose 41% from a year earlier, bolstered by grocery orders. “We continue to see good traffic in our stores,” Chief Executive Doug McMillon said in a conference call on Thursday.

Looking to the full year, Walmart now expects adjusted earnings per share for fiscal 2020 to “increase slightly” compared with last year. Previously, it was calling for adjusted earnings per share to range between a slight decrease to a slight increase. Analysts have been calling for 0.3% growth. Excluding Flipkart, Walmart says annual earnings should be up a high single-digit percentage.

The company added it “continues to assess the ongoing civil unrest in Chile and has not included any related potential discrete financial effects in its assumptions.” With respect to the ongoing trade war between the U.S. and China, Walmart said: “We’re continuing to monitor the ongoing tariff discussions and are hopeful that an overarching long-term agreement can be reached.”

Walmart’s wholesale Sam’s Club business saw e-commerce sales grow 32% during the quarter, and same-store sales were up 0.6%. Big-box rival Target, which is set to report earnings next week, saw a boost from Walmart’s strong report. Its shares were up 1.7% Thursday morning. Walmart shares are up more than 30% this year. The retailer has a market cap of about $347.6 billion, compared with Amazon’s $870.6 billion.

Todd “Bubba” Horwitz