The fourth quarter was strong for Walmart, with an apparent mix of economic growth and market share gains boosting the company to solid profit and sales numbers during the holidays. Sarah Nassauer writes in The Wall Street Journal:
In the U.S., the company’s comparable sales, which exclude gas but include digital sales, rose 4.2% in the January-ended quarter, adding to a string of positive quarterly sales. Walmart got a boost from strong grocery sales, online orders, as well as holiday purchases including toys.
Walmart had expected quarterly U.S. comparable sales to rise at least 3% from a year earlier. In the latest quarter, the company got a lift from the U.S. government sending February checks to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program recipients in January to ensure payment amid the federal government shutdown. The company said the shift added 0.4% to its comp sales growth.
The results—following mixed economic data and sales updates from other U.S. chains—were mostly better than Wall Street had expected and the company reiterated its financial forecasts for fiscal 2020. Shares of Walmart gained about 3% to $103.43 in Tuesday morning trading.
“We experienced a favorable economic environment in the U.S. for much of the year,” which helped lift grocery spending, said Walmart CEO Doug McMillon on a conference call.
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