Walmart continues sales momentum in third quarter

Robust e-commerce growth helps drive 6.6% U.S. comp-sales gain


Russell Redman, Supermarket News

Nov 17, 2020


Walmart posted solid sales gains and topped Wall Street’s high-end earnings forecast for its fiscal 2021 third quarter as it continued to adapt to changing consumer behavior and operational challenges presented by the COVID-19 crisis.


For the quarter ended Oct. 31, Walmart totaled revenue of $134.61 billion, up 5.2% from  $127.99 billion a year earlier. Excluding the impact of foreign exchange, revenue rose 6.1% to $135.8 billion, the company said Tuesday.


At Walmart U.S., third-quarter net sales climbed 6.2% to $88.35 billion from $83.19 billion a year ago. Comparable sales grew 6.3% year over year (6.4% excluding fuel), with the average ticket size up 24% and the number of transactions down 14.2%.


President and CEO Doug McMillon noted that Walmart drove growth despite an “unusual and softer” back-to-school season and less benefit from government stimulus spending versus the first half of the year.


“Walmart U.S. had another strong quarter. Comp sales increased 6.4%, and we significantly reduced operating losses in e-commerce,” McMillon told analysts in a conference call on Tuesday. “Consistent with the second quarter, we saw customers consolidate shopping trips with larger baskets and fewer transactions. Comp sales accelerated from the beginning of the quarter, helped by food, consumables, and health and wellness.”


E-commerce sales at Walmart U.S. surged 79% versus a year ago, with the company  citing strong results across digital channels, and contributed about 570 basis points to comp-sales growth.


“Growth was strong in pickup and delivery as well as direct-to-home, with the highest growth coming from [Walmart] Marketplace,” McMillon said...


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