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Strong U.S. sales, profit from Walmart on cusp of holiday season

Meanwhile, big-box retailer's International division reported a $5.9 billion decrease in net sales in the third quarter

Walmart topped almost all expectations in the third quarter, an encouraging sign for the upcoming holiday shopping season already beset by snarled supply chains and rising costs.

The Bentonville, Arkansas, company also raised its full-year earnings guidance.

It did not escape some of the supply chain issues that have settled across almost every economic sector. Consolidated gross profit rate took a hit primarily due to increased supply chain costs, the company said, in addition to other issues.

In addition to rising costs for shipping and goods, Walmart is also spending more on wages for its workers. The company is chartering vessels to ensure that store shelves are stocked for the holidays.

Walmart posted a profit of US$3.1 billion during the three-month period ended Oct. 31. That compares with a net profit in the year-ago period of $5.13 billion.

Walmart International, which includes retail operations in Canada, China, Mexico and Central America, reported $23.6 billion in net sales, a decrease of $5.9 billion, negatively affected by $9.4 billion related to divestitures. Changes in currency exchange rates positively affected net sales by approximately $1.3 billion. .

Sales rose 4.1% to $139.21 billion, better than the $135.43 billion industry analysts expected.

Comparable sales at U.S. stores rose 9.2%, an increase from the 5.2% pace during the second quarter and 6% increase in the first. Online spending growth is being compared with last year's pandemic-induced shopping sprees. There was a 37% increase in the fiscal first quarter and 69% increase in the fiscal fourth quarter.

Food sales rose nearly 10% during the quarter reflecting strong market share gains and low to mid-single digit inflation. Sales of general merchandise rose in the mid-single digit percentages, fuelled by back-to-school shopping and holiday decor.

The company expects sales at stores opened at least a year to be up around 5% for the current fourth quarter.

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