Walmart Stock Hits Record Close on Strong Quarter

Walmart said its comparable-store sales in the United States rose 3.8 percent from the quarter a year earlier. Its U.S. e-commerce business jumped 22 percent.

Walmart has performed better than retailers dependent on apparel sales, in part because it also sells essential goods like groceries. Consumers, especially those with lower incomes, are looking for places to save after a stretch of high inflation.

Transactions were up 3.8 percent, while the average ticket price showed that with each visit people were spending about the same as they did this time last year. Walmart’s quarterly profit, of $5.1 billion, was triple the result a year earlier.

Walmart’s stock rose 7 percent, closing at a record $64, as investors reacted to the results and the company’s upgraded forecast for growth this year.

The retailer said consumers from “upper-income households” helped it gain market share, reiterating a trend it has noted since Americans started navigating high inflation a couple of years ago.

In an interview, John David Rainey, Walmart’s chief financial officer, pointed to the company’s focus on making shopping more convenient through features like curbside pickup and deliveries, as well as diversifying its product offerings, particularly online.

“You think about things like AirPods, MacBook Air — these are items that certainly appeal to a high-income demographic,” Mr. Rainey said. “The more that we move into that space and offer a broad assortment like that, I think the more we’re going to retain this cohort.”

Over the past three years, households earning over $100,000 have provided the biggest gains in Walmart’s market share, according to Neil Saunders of GlobalData, an analytics and consulting firm.

“In a sea of challenged and volatile and confusing consumer spending,” said David Silverman, a retail analyst at Fitch Ratings, “what’s interesting is how strong and consistent this quarter and many of Walmart’s last few quarters have been.”

Walmart has been making decisions about where to invest.

As groceries continue to bring people into the stores, it has introduced a private-label line called Bettergoods, which offers more upscale fare like plant-based and gluten-free options. New products like these could help Walmart hang on to the younger and wealthier customers it won over during the heights of inflation.

Walmart’s earnings were also helped by the growth in its advertising business, which grew 24 percent in the latest quarter. The company acquired the smart-TV company Vizio this year in a deal valued at $2.3 billion. Walmart sees the purchase as a way to increase sales by connecting advertisers with potential shoppers.

Walmart also said it would expand a subscription platform that gives suppliers and merchants a real-time view of product performance. The platform, Walmart Luminate, will become available in Mexico and Canada this year.

The business, which doubled in the latest quarter, helps suppliers ensure that their products are “relevant to the customers that Walmart has today,” Mark Hardy, who helps oversee the platform, said in an interview.

Not all businesses have lived up to the company’s hopes. Last month, Walmart said it was shutting its 51 health care centers across five states. It said the initiative, begun in 2019, had proved to be unprofitable.

And Walmart said this week that it had cut several hundred corporate roles, without providing specifics. It has pushed to bring workers back to offices and will relocate employees in its tech division to its headquarters in Bentonville, Ark., to the San Francisco Bay Area or to the New York area.

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Preetha Nair


With over three decades of industry experience, Ms. Nair is a seasoned consultant specialized in ushering start-up companies into new markets. Currently serving as the Chairperson for World Trade Xpert, she leverages her expertise to build global channel partnerships, develop robust sales pipelines, and engage in advocacy with host governments on policy issues. Throughout her career, she has played a pivotal role in helping companies close business deals worth over 8 billion USD, demonstrating her ability to drive substantial revenue growth and market expansion on a global scale.