Walmart Inc. (WMT) reported its third quarterly result and analysts began dissecting the data to gauge consumer trends in the approaching holiday season. The nation’s largest retailer reported results that were better than expected but offered a cautious outlook. A strong labor market as well as steady wages have helped shoppers continue with purchases but higher prices and higher interest rates for homes and cars have affected household budgets.
This week, the U.S. Commerce Department reported that spending in October had decreased and retail sales had declined by 0.1 percent. This is the first-time sales have declined after there were six consecutive months of gains.
Walmart CEO Doug McMillon said that consumers had become cautious in spending, leading to a decline in third quarter sales. However, Walmart’s sales as well as profits exceeded the expectations of Wall Street. The big box retailer also increased the top end of its revenue for the full year and also adjusted forecasts for profit.
Walmart reported profit at $453 million in the third quarter, that is 17 cent per share for the quarter ending October 31, 2023. This is a huge improvement on the year ago period when Walmart reported a loss of $1.79 million or 66 cents per share. Adjusted earnings per share were reported as $1.53.
Revenue also rose this quarter to $160.84 billion. This is a 5.2 percent increase as the revenue was $152.81 in the same quarter a year ago.
According to FactSet estimates analysts were expecting $1.52 per share and sales of $159.65 billion. Walmart exceeded the expectations of Wall Street analysts.
Walmart U.S. division store sales rose by 4.9 percent while global e-commerce sales rose by 15 percent.
Walmart said that it is expecting annual sales to rise to a range of 5 percent to 5.5 percent. Earlier Walmart said that it was expecting a rise in the range of 4 percent to 4.5 percent. It also anticipates its adjusted earnings per share to be between $6.40 to $6.48. This is an increase from its earlier estimate of $6.36 to $6.46 per share.
Walmart has launched its early Black Friday deals and is getting good sales. However, the big box retailer prefers a cautious outlook, following which it can exceed the expectations of Wall Street analysts.
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