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Walmart sees sales growth as digital investments continue to be in focus



Walmart
Inc.


WMT 1.90%

said on Thursday that increased visitor traffic and average customer spend per visit to its US stores helped boost sales in its quarter as the retail giant entered Grocery Growing in Investments in Online Initiatives

Same-store sales at Walmart stores in the US rose 2.1

%, compared to 2.3%, according to Consensus Metrix analysts.

Walmart announced that the last quarter was supported by the grocery business in the US with a rise in private labels, which led to an increase in fresh food and packaged goods, as well as higher branded drug prices. The company said it is improving lighting, expanding deli offerings and making bakeries easier to navigate. Nevertheless, the cool weather in April reduced sales of seasonal and lawn care products.

Walmart said it achieved a similar level of inventories in the 12th quarter while maintaining sufficient inventory for customers. Reducing inventory levels can increase profit margins.

By the end of the year, Walmart expects its caterer to reach 40% of the US population.

Recently, the company closed 63 of its low performing Sam's club locations, or about 10%, and removed tobacco from certain locations. If you get rid of less well-developed businesses, you can improve the results for the remaining locations. The closed sites reduced sales by 8%, but comparable sales excluding fuel and tobacco from other stores increased by 5.2% as foot traffic increased by 5.6%.

Walmart has also changed growth in international markets. This month, Walmart agreed to take control of India's largest e-commerce company, the Flipkart Group, for $ 16 billion. He bids that growth in the South Asian market will offset short-term losses from the takeover of the unprofitable startup.

It recently also sold the control of the UK chain Asda

J Sainsbury

PLC, and, according to the persons familiar with the matter, it is in negotiations to sell a controlling stake in its Brazilian operations. Walmart International generated approximately 24% of its revenue for the last year.

U.S. E-commerce revenue increased 33% in the first quarter compared to 23% in the fourth quarter. Walmart said it expects 40% online growth this year. E-commerce sales still account for a fraction of the retailer's turnover.

In the first quarter, Walmart made a profit of $ 2.13 billion, or 72 cents a share, compared to a profit of $ 3.04 billion, or $ 1 per share, the same period a year earlier. On an adjusted basis, which excludes some changes in accounting rules, the company raised $ 1.14 a share, over $ 1.12, analysts at Thomson Reuters expected.

Sales increased 4.4% to $ 122.69 billion, ahead of analysts' expected $ 120.51 billion.

Walmart said that earnings in the quarter were impacted by a decline in the share price of Chinese e-commerce company

JD.com
.

Under the new accounting rules, the Company recognizes gains and losses on certain equity investments even if the company does not sell or buy any shares.

Higher fuel and logistics costs also weighed on earnings. A truck bottleneck this year has led to rising costs in various sectors in the US

Stocks rose 1.9% in pre-trade.

Write to Austen Hufford at austen.hufford@wsj.com


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