Walmart makes real omnichannel progress

It was no great surprise to see a solid set of financial results for Walmart this morning, with Q4 sales growth standing at 2.1%.

Retail sales across the US during November and December increased 5.5% year-on-year, to approximately $692 billion, according to the National Retail Federation. It was the largest rise in holiday sales since the recession of 2008, exceeding the NRF’s forecast of $682 billion.

Meanwhile, Walmart’s full-year sales also increase 2.6%, and eCommerce sales increased 23% for Q4 and a huge 44% for the full year, driven by its continued efforts to take on Amazon using digital innovations.

Total Q4 revenue stood at $136.3 billion, an increase of $5.3 billion, or 4.1%. The full-year figure was $500.3 billion, an increase of $14.5 billion, or 3%. Meanwhile, the retail giant set its fiscal 2019 earnings per share forecast at $4.75 to $5.00.

On the downside, analysts had been expecting earnings per share of $1.37 ($1.33, adjusted), and shares of the retailer fell more than 3% in pre-market trading. Q4 revenue and comparable sales were, however, better than expected ($134.9 billion and an increase of 2.2% respectively had been floated).

"We have good momentum in the business with solid sales growth across Walmart US, Sam's Club and International. We're making real progress putting our unique assets to work to serve customers in all the ways they want to shop, and I want to thank our associates for their great work this past year,” said said Doug McMillon, president and CEO, Walmart.

“We're making decisions to position the business for success and investing to win with customers and shareholders.”

Click here to read Essential Retail's analysis on Walmart's 2017 financial results.