Walmart reports better-than-expected Q4 earnings and revenue

Walmart_exteriorWalmart announced better-than-expected fourth quarter results on Tuesday.

The retail giant reported earnings per share of $1.41 on revenue of $138.8 billion in the quarter.

The results were better than what analysts had forecast of earnings per share of $1.33 on revenue of $138.76 billion.

Comparable-store sales rose 4.2% during the quarter, up from a 2.6% rise in the same quarter a year ago, and much stronger than the 3.2% growth expected by analysts.

US e-commerce sales for the retail giant rose 43% year-over-year during the quarter.

CEO Doug McMillon said “a favorable economic environment” has helped the retailer boost sales and take more market share from competitors.

Robust e-commerce growth was driven by an expansion of Walmart’s grocery pickup and delivery businesses, as well as a broader assortment on Walmart’s grocery pickup and delivery service is now available in more than 2,100 and nearly 800 stores, respectively.

The company generated $27.8 billion in operating cash flow and returned $13.5 billion to shareholders through dividends and share repurchases.

The results come after the Commerce Department released disappointing December sales data last week. December retail sales dropped 1.2 percent from November which raised concerns that Walmart may have suffered during the holidays.

Walmart said in fiscal 2020 guidance that it expects consolidated net sales growth of at least 3% in 2020, US comp sales growth of between 2.5% to 3%, and US eCommerce net sales growth of around 35%.

Doug McMillon said:

“We had a good year, and I want to thank our associates for their great work and openness to change. They continue to inspire us as we strive to serve our customers better every day. Progress on initiatives to accelerate growth, along with a favorable economic environment, helped us deliver strong comp sales and gain market share.

“We’re excited about the work we’re doing to reach customers in a more digitally-connected way. Our commitment to the customer is clear – we’ll be there when, where and how they want to shop and deliver new, convenient experiences that are uniquely Walmart.”