Walmart reports jump in profit on strong US performance

A Walmart store is seen in Encinitas, California April 13, 2016. — Reuters pic
A Walmart store is seen in Encinitas, California April 13, 2016. — Reuters pic

NEW YORK, May 16 — Walmart reported a jump in first-quarter earnings today on higher US store sales and eCommerce growth following heavy investment in new “omnichannel” retail ventures.

The world’s biggest retailer reported profits of US$3.8 billion.

That’s an increase of 80 per cent from the year-ago period when results were dented by a one-time earnings hit following US tax reform.

Revenues climbed one per cent to US$123.9 billion.

Comparable sales at US stores — a key retail-sector benchmark closely-watched by Wall Street — jumped 3.4 per cent, marking the company’s best performance in nine years, the company said.

Chief Executive Doug McMillon highlighted the strong US figures, which come as the company ramps up programs to allow customers to pick up groceries that are ordered online and provide more direct delivery of goods.

New ventures include voice-ordering for grocery and free next-day delivery of frequently purchased items for orders of US$35 or more in the US.

“We’re embracing new processes and technologies with the goal of serving our customers even better,” McMillon said.

Retailers have been unnerved by President Donald Trump’s moves to hike tariffs on imported goods as part of a trade deal negotiation, particularly the White House’s latest threat to enact tariffs on nearly all goods from China.

“We’re monitoring the tariff discussions and are hopeful that an agreement can be reached,” said chief financial officer Brett Biggs

Shares rose 1.3 per cent to US$101.20 in pre-market trading. — AFP

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