BENTONVILLE, ARK. – Strong same-store sales and a surge in e-commerce sales contributed to a "solid" first quarter at Walmart, Inc., the company's top executive said. Consolidated net income attributable to Walmart for the three months ended April 30 was $2,134 million, equal to 72c per share on the common stock, which compared with $3,039 million, or $1 per share, in the prior-year period. Total revenues for the quarter were $122,690 million, up 4.4% from $117,542 million in the prior-year period.
Walmart U.S. same-store sales climbed 2.1% while same-store traffic increased 0.8%. Segment net sales for the quarter climbed 3.1% to $77,748 million, while operating income for the business slipped 3.1% to $3,927 million.
“We delivered a solid first quarter, and we’re encouraged by the continued momentum across the business,” said Doug McMillon, president and chief executive officer of Walmart. “We’re transforming to better serve customers. We are changing from within to be faster and more digital, while shaping our portfolio of businesses for the future. Our strong cash flow and balance sheet provide flexibility to do so. I want to thank our associates and our leadership team for the choices they’re making, their strong sense of urgency and the actions they’re taking. Our people make the difference, and I’m proud to work with them.”
In 2017, the company pledged to prioritize digital experiences and store remodels over new stores in fiscal years 2018 and 2019. This strategy is paying for Walmart, which said Walmart U.S. e-commerce sales grew 33% in the quarter. E-commerce represents a small share of the company’s operations, but it is the fastest-growing segment in the company.
Same-store sales at Sam’s Club segment advanced 3.8% led by same-store traffic growth of 5.6%, the company said. Results were negatively impacted by tobacco sales, a drop of approximately 140 basis points.
Net sales at Walmart International in the first quarter were $30.3 billion, an increase of 12%. Eight of the company’s 11 markets posted positive same-store sales, including the four largest markets.
In its fiscal 2019 guidance, Walmart said it expects its investment in Bengalaru, India-based Flipkart, India’s largest e-commerce company, to negatively impact earnings per share by approximately 25c to 30c if the transaction closes by the end of the second quarter.
Walmart signed a definitive agreement on May 9 to become the largest shareholder in Flipkart, investing $16 billion for an initial stake of approximately 77%. The deal is subject to regulatory approval in India.