Walmart's strong first quarter driven by consumers seeking bargains with inflation still an issue

NEW YORK — Walmart Inc. reported another quarter of strong quarterly results Thursday as its low prices pull in shoppers scouring for discounts with inflation stubbornly high.

The nation’s largest retailer, based in Bentonville, Arkansas, also offered an upbeat outlook. Share rose more than 5% in premarket trading.

Walmart reported profits of $5.10 billion, or 63 cents per share for the quarter ended April 30. That compares with $1.67 billion, or 21 cents per share, in the same period last year. Adjusted earnings per share was 60 cents, far surpassing estimates for 53 cents per share, according to FactSet analysts.

Revenue rose 6% to $161.51 billion in the quarter, up from $152.3 billion in the year-ago quarter. Analysts expected $159.6 billion, according to FactSet.

Comparable store sales — those from established stores and online operating over the past 12 months — rose 3.8% at Walmart’s U.S. stores, a bit slower than the 4%, in the fourth quarter. The metric rose 4.9% in the fiscal third quarter. Global e-commerce sales were up 21% in the latest quarter, compared with 23% during the fourth quarter and 15% in the previous quarter.

Walmart is among the first major U.S. retailers to report quarterly results that could shed more insight into how consumers are feeling, particularly after the government reported an unexpected flattening of spending between March and April.

Home Depot, the nation’s largest home improvement retailer, said this week that sales declined for the third consecutive quarter to start 2024 as homeowners and prospective buyers wrestled with higher mortgage rates and inflation.

Starbucks last month lowered its sales expectations for the year as visits to its coffee shops slow worldwide. The decline in spending at U.S. stores was even worse than it had anticipated.

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