Strong holiday sales helped to push revenue higher for Walmart in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2020, and for the fiscal year ending Jan. 31. Total revenue for the retail giant rose 2.1% to $141.6 billion in the quarter and was 1.9% higher for the year at $523.96 billion.
Walmart generated revenue of $1.435 billion per day during the past year, up compared to $1.413 billion daily revenue reported a year ago. This is the third year Walmart has posted more than a half-trillion dollars in revenue.
Net income for the year was $14.881 billion, more than double the $6.67 billion in the previous year. Net earnings per share exceeded analyst estimates in the quarter at a non-adjusted $1.44 per share – before a 26-cent gain on an investment in JD.com, a 15-cent restructuring charge, an 11-cent tax benefit and a 15-cent charge for certain tax matters. On a GAAP or net basis, earnings per share were $1.38 missing Wall Street’s consensus estimate of $1.44 for the quarter.
Walmart’s same-store U.S. sales for the quarter were also softer than estimates at 1.9%, while e-commerce sales rose 35% in the quarter, a strong showing overall.
Fiscal 2020 earnings per share were $5.19 on a non-adjusted basis, or $4.93 a share adjusted related to legal matters, disruption in Chile. Fiscal 2020 gross earnings were still higher than the $2.26 reported a year ago.
“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,” CEO Doug McMillon noted in the release.
Walmart’s fiscal 2021 guidance is a 3% gain in net sales with U.S. comps of 2.5% and e-commerce sales growth of 30%. Earnings per share are forecast between $5 and $5.15 for the full-year, slightly below the $5.22 analysts had previously pegged expected earnings.
MIXED HOLIDAY RESULTS
“The fourth quarter started and ended strong with solid sales growth through Cyber Monday and in January. In the few weeks before Christmas, we experienced some softness in a few general merchandise categories in our U.S. stores. However, Walmart U.S. grocery sales and e-commerce sales were strong throughout the quarter. Sam’s Club performed well, including solid results in e-Commerce. We experienced softness in some key international markets, as well as in Chile, where unrest led to disruption in the majority of our stores. Walmex, China and Flipkart all had a solid quarter,” Walmart Chief Financial Officer Brett Biggs noted in the release.
Biggs said the holiday season was positive overall but there was some pressure related to store overhead expenses related to employee scheduling.
“We understand the factors that affected our results and are developing plans to address them. We remain confident in our business strategy and our ability to deliver value and convenience for our customers through an integrated omnichannel offering across the globe,” Biggs noted.
Walmart U.S. sales were $92.3 billion in the quarter, up 1.9% year over year. Comp sales were up 1.9%, but were negative without the impact of e-commerce which added 2.1% to the overall number. Operating income for the quarter was also down 12.7% at $4.4 billion.
Biggs said Walmart does not now expect any impact from the coronavirus on the retailer’s U.S. operations.
OTHER SEGMENT RESULTS
Walmart international sales rose 2.3% to $33 billion in the quarter. Operating income was $1.1 billion in the quarter, down 5.6% from a year ago. For the full year, sales were $120.1 billion, down fractionally. On a constant-currency basis, annual sales rose 2.8% to $124.3 billion.
Sam’s Club reported net sales of $15.3 billion in the fourth quarter, up 2.6%. Membership stayed relatively flat compared to a year ago. Comp sales excluding fuel were up 0.8% for the quarter, below the 3.4% gain reported a year ago. Comp sales were positively impacted by strong e-commerce sales. While transactions were up, Sam’s reported the average ticket size declined by 3.5% in the quarter. For the year, Sam’s Club had total revenue of $58.8 billion, up 1.6%.