Walmart hikes profit forecast as stimulus checks boost sales

'In the U.S., customers clearly want to get out and shop'

Walmart Inc. raised its full-year earnings outlook as another batch of stimulus checks propelled same-store sales past Wall Street estimates.

The Bentonville, Arkansas-based retailer reported same-store sales, excluding fuel, rose 6% year over year, exceeding the 0.86% gain that analysts surveyed by Refinitiv were expecting.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
WMT WALMART, INC. 135.17 -2.55 -1.85%

"Our optimism is higher than it was at the beginning of the year," CEO Doug McMillon said in a statement. "In the U.S., customers clearly want to get out and shop."

Online sales jumped 37% in the U.S. from a year ago, helping total revenue rise 2.7% to $138.3 billion. Net sales in the U.S. rose 5% to $93.2 billion, aided by the Biden administration sending $1,400 checks to most Americans, while international sales slipped 8.3% to $27.3 billion. 

Quarterly revenue was negatively impacted by $4.2 billion due to recent divestitures in the company's international business. Still, the results topped the $132 billion that analysts were anticipating. 

Profit fell 32% year over year to $2.73 billion, or an adjusted $1.69 per share which easily exceeded the Wall Street consensus of $1.21 per share. The adjusted earnings include net losses on equity investments of 57 cents per share and a 15 cent per share loss on the sale of the company's operations in the U.K. and Japan.  

Looking ahead, Walmart anticipates fiscal 2022 earnings will increase by high single digits, up from its previous forecast of a small decline for the year. Consolidated net sales are expected to decline by low single digits. 

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Walmart shares were down 3.65% this year through Monday versus the S&P 500's 11% gain.