Walmart increases forecast as people return to stores; slow online sales

The entrance to a Walmart store is seen in Bradford, Pennsylvania, U.S. July 20, 2020. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo

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Aug 17 (Reuters) – Walmart Inc (WMT.N) raised its annual U.S. same-store sales forecast after beating analysts’ estimates on Tuesday as shoppers emerging from lockdown bought more clothes, travel gear and back-to-school merchandise.

However, as store sales increased, Walmart’s pace of online growth slowed significantly to 6% from 37% in the first quarter.

Still, Walmart is on track to hit $75 billion in global online sales by the end of the year. pandemic.

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“Even though e-commerce growth has slowed as we piled on huge growth last year… The good news for us is that we can serve them (shoppers) both ways,” the director said. General Doug McMillon.

The results kick off a big week of revenue from major US retailers – including Target (TGT.N) and Macy’s (MN) – all of which should have benefited as people temporarily leave their homes this summer. Investors fear, however, that their newfound freedom could be cut short by a resurgence in COVID-19 cases due to the more contagious Delta variant of the virus.

Sales at Walmart stores in the United States that have been open for at least a year rose 5.2%, excluding fuel, in the second quarter ended July 31. Analysts had estimated growth of 3.69%, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

The world’s largest retailer has also been boosted by stimulus checks handed out during the pandemic, and more recently by the Biden administration’s advance child tax credits. Read more

Walmart said it now expects fiscal 2022 U.S. same-store sales to grow 5% to 6%, compared with the low-single-digit growth it had previously forecast. . He also expects current quarter sales to be well above estimates. The outlook takes into account the continued strength of the US economy and the absence of significant government stimulus for the remainder of the year.

The increase in the third quarter forecast shows that Walmart will continue to operate on all cylinders, relying heavily on its stores, said Charlie O’Shea, retail analyst at Moody’s.

Walmart’s U.S. gross margin improved 20 basis points as fewer discounts and a doubling of U.S. ad sales helped offset higher supply chain costs.

Walmart reported adjusted earnings per share of $1.78, easily beating analysts’ expectations of $1.57 per share. Total revenue increased 2.4% to $141.05 billion, beating expectations of $137.17 billion.

Shares of Walmart rose slightly, adding to the nearly 5% gains seen so far this year.

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Reporting by Aishwarya Venugopal in Bengaluru and Richa Naidu in Chicago; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila and Nick Zieminski

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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David A. Albanese