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Walmart reports sales gains for Q4

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The retailer said that holiday sales were softer than expected.

BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Walmart reported sales of $141.7 billion for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2020, an increase of $12.9 billion, or about 2.1%, over the prior year period.

Earnings and sales fell short of analysts expectations, however, and Walmart said that holiday sales were softer than expected. Walmart president and CEO Doug McMillon said the company expects a strong showing in the coming year.

“In Q4, we saw strong performance in the U.s. with eCommerce and Sam’s Club plus strength in Mexico, India and China,” McMillon said in a statement. “We started and finished the quarter with momentum, while sales leading up to Christmas in our U.S. stores were a little softer than expected. The new year has started off well, and we look forward to another strong year. We remain focused on providing our customers with the best omnichannel experience from any retailer.”

Breaking its sales results down by category, Walmart noted that food and consumables sales trends were strong, and that grocery sales on a two-year stacked basis were among the company’s best in the past 10 years. The company attributed those results to its ability to offer increased value, including through private brands which enjoyed increased penetration. An expanded omnichannel offering also contributed to the strong performance.

Comparable pharmacy comp sales posted a mid single digit increase, helped by branded drug inflation and an active flu season. Walmart also had strong growth in 90-day script counts.

The home, electronics and seasonal categories performed well, but their sales were more than offset by softer U.S. store sales in toys, media & gaming and apparel, according to the company. Walmart said “the compressed holiday season, softer toy industry sales, a lack of newness in gaming, and some assortment challenges in apparel” contributed to the decline.

For the 2020 fiscal year, Walmart reported total revenue of $524.0 billion, an increase of $9.6 billion, or 1.9%. Excluding currency effects, total revenue was $528.1 billion, an increase of $13.7 billion, or 2.7%. Walmart U.S. comp sales for the year increased 2.8% (or 6.4% on a two-year stacked basis), and eCommerce sales for the year grew 37%


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