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Walmart Q2 earnings, sales top estimates amid strong traffic; online sales cool

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Walmart Inc. reported better-than-expected second-quarter earnings and sales as shoppers returned to its stores and the retailed gained market share in grocery.

The retail giant reported adjusted earnings per share of $1.78 for the quarter ended July 31,  beating analysts’ estimates of $1.57.   

Walmart’s total revenues rose 2.4% to to $141.04 billion from $137.74 billion last year and exceeded estimates of $137.17 billion.

Net sales at Walmart U.S. increased 5.3% to $98.2 billion. Comp sales rose 5.2% in the quarter, reflecting strong underlying business trends, a robust U.S. economy and stimulus spending, the company said. Comp sales were up 14.5% on two-year stack. Comp transactions rose 6.1%. The average ticket edged down 0.8%.

 Walmart noted that its gained market share in grocery during the quarter. Its food categories saw broad-based strength, with low-teens growth on a two-year stack,  helped by strong price positioning, an elevated fresh offering and better in-stocks. Grocery sales accelerated through the quarter and increased low double- digits on a two-year stacked basis, the company said.

Walmart’s U.S. e-commerce net sales growth cooled in the quarter, rising 6%, as more customers returned to in-store shopping. Online growth on a two-year stack more than doubled, up 103%. Global e-commerce sales are “on track to reach $75 billion by the end of the year,”  Walmart CEO Doug McMillon said in a statement.

We had another strong quarter in every part of our business,” McMillon continued.We grew market share in U.S. grocery, added thousands of new sellers to our marketplace, rapidly grew advertising businesses around the world, and we’re finding innovative ways to commercialize our data and build technology. We have a unique ecosystem of products and services designed to serve customers in broader, deeper ways, and we’re grateful to our associates for making it all happen.”

Looking ahead, Walmart said it expects U.S. same-store sales growth (excluding fuel) of 6% to 7% in the third quarter compared with its previous guidance for low-single digit growth. Analysts had forecast 3.9% growth. 

The retailers expects third quarter earnings per share of $1.30 to $1.40. For the year, earnings per share is now expected to be $6.20 to $6.35, versus previous guidance for a high-single digit increase.

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