Walmart shares jump on strong US sales growth

Third quarter marks firm’s strongest showing since 2009 despite sluggish demand

Walmart has notched more than three straight years of overall comparable sales growth. Photograph: Getty Images

Walmart has notched more than three straight years of overall comparable sales growth. Photograph: Getty Images

 

Walmart Stores reported better than expected US comparable sales on Thursday, as customers stocked up on food and other supplies ahead of hurricanes and online purchases soared, sending its share price up more than 8.5 per cent.

The third quarter marked Walmart’s strongest US sales growth since 2009 despite sluggish demand and competition from Amazon. com that has hurt brick-and-mortar rivals. The retailer has notched more than three straight years of overall comparable sales growth.

“Momentum in the business is really strong,” said Walmart chief financial officer Brett Biggs.

Online sales soared 50 per cent, exceeding growth at other big retailers but coming in below the previous quarter’s 60 per cent surge.

Excluding special items, earnings per share were $1 in the quarter to October 31st, exceeding the average analyst estimate of 97 cents.

Operating income fell 6.9 per cent, while operating margins slipped to 3.9 per cent from 4.4 per cent in the same period a year earlier.

Net income dropped to $1.75 billion from $3.03 billion a year earlier due to a charge related to retiring higher-rate debt and exiting properties in international markets.

– (Reuters)