Color Walmart CEO Doug McMillon impressed with his company’s performance after reporting third quarter sales that exceeded both the retailing giant’s expectations as well as those of Wall Street.
Walmart’s core business in the U.S. posted a 9.2 percent year-over-year gain in same-store sales. The retailer’s comps were up 15.2 percent on a two-year basis. Grocery was a key driver for Walmart during the period with sales up nearly 10 percent, the strongest quarterly growth for the company in six quarters.
Mr. McMillon called the results for Walmart US “remarkable” yesterday on the company’s third quarter earnings call before listing the ways the retailer is seeking to build its overall business.
“Transaction counts in our stores and clubs are growing, inventory is up 11.5 percent, our price gaps are where we want them, and we’re innovating in the supply chain and adding capacity,” he said. “And we’re building businesses like Walmart Go Local, Walmart Connect, Walmart Luminate, Walmart+, Spark delivery, our Marketplace and Walmart Fulfillment Services. Financial services is another area where we know we can make a difference in the lives of so many. We recently launched bill payment services in our stores as well as the ability to load money to a bank account or a prepaid card.”
Mr. McMillon addressed gross profit margin concerns after a quarter when Walmart was down 42 basis points from last year.
“We’re seeing inflationary cost pressures in some areas, and our merchants remain laser focused on taking the necessary steps to mitigate supply chain congestion while working with suppliers in monitoring price gaps to manage margins appropriately. Lower markdowns and increased contributions from advertising revenue have helped offset cost pressures,” he said.
Walmart’s CEO said that the company, buoyed by its strong inventory position, would continue to hammer price as a key differentiating factor during the holiday season and beyond despite inflationary pressures.
John Furner, president and CEO of Walmart US, echoed those comments. He said that the company is always approaching suppliers about opportunities for price rollbacks to gain market share. Walmart has found opportunistic suppliers who are on board with that approach and the company expects to find more in the coming months.
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