Walmart sees strongest sales growth in a decade

CEO Doug McMillon credits fresh food, grocery category for positive results

For its second quarter of fiscal 2019, Walmart reported a U.S. comparative-store sales increase of 4.5%, what the company called “the strongest growth in more than 10 years, led by the performance of grocery, apparel and seasonal.” The mega-retailer’s solid comps were supported by traffic and ticket growth, each surpassing 2%.

“Fresh food category sales were strong and led to the best grocery comp in nine years,” said Doug McMillon, Walmart president and CEO, during comments on the company’s Q2 earnings. “Customers continue to gravitate toward our selection of fresh produce, meat and bakery items that offer great quality at low prices.”

In Canada, net sales were up 2.8% while comparable stores sales were up 2.6%. The company said it was gaining market share in food, consumables, and health and wellness. In the quarter, Walmart expanded its Walmart Pickup to all locations across Canada and added online grocery pickup in 21 stores.

Walmart U.S. omnichannel sales made considerable progress in the quarter, continuing the rebound from the previous quarter after somewhat sluggish growth in Q4 of fiscal 2018.

"We’re serving more grocery pickup and delivery customers, and now have more than 1,800 locations with grocery pickup," noted McMillon. "We’re also making good progress on activating grocery delivery to cover 40% of the U.S. population by year-end. Grocery pickup wait times continue to come down, and our grocery delivery times are improving."

Walmart’s total revenue came to US$128 billion, an increase of $4.7 billion, or 3.8%. Excluding currency, total revenue totaled $127.8 billion, an increase of $4.4 billion, or 3.6%.

Walmart International saw positive comps in its four largest markets: Canada, U.K., Mexico and China. Net sales for the quarter were $29.5 billion, a 4% increase. Excluding currency, net sales were $29.2 billion, a 3.1% increase.

Walmart operates more than 11,200 stores under 55 banners in 27 countries and e-commerce websites, employing 2.2 million-plus associates worldwide.

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