Walmart is working hard to lower grocery prices to help ease holiday consumer pressure driven by: elevated food prices that are not deflating fast enough (particularly as it relates to very high meat prices); tightening bank credit; a return to pre-covid debt levels; & the resumption of student loan repayments which affects 27MM Americans. In any case, Walmart is encouraged by traffic trends which were strong & consistent throughout 3QFY24.
- Elevated U.S. pricing levels in many food categories continue to pressure consumers. While pockets of disinflation are helping (with price relief in dairy, eggs, chicken, & seafood), Walmart would like to see more relief at a faster rate, especially in the dry grocery & consumables categories.
- Lower food prices in dry grocery & consumables would free up dollars to be spent on general merchandise.
- Walmart is not worried about wage inflation & management is planning to further increase associate pay next year.
- Comp sales for Walmart U.S. increased +4.9% y/y & +3.8% y/y for Sam’s Club, with traffic growth across both in-store & digital channels.
- Walmart U.S. e-commerce sales increased +24% y/y with +16% y/y growth in Sam’s Club’s domestic online sales. This included strength in its pickup & store fulfill delivery channels driven by a higher income demo and management noted that multi-channel shoppers are more valuable, engage more often, & spend more.
- Walmart’s share growth in U.S. grocery is driving gains in units & dollars.
- While general merchandise sales declined low single digits, driven by lower discretionary spending, management noted strength in categories like auto care & toy items (including the Barbie Malibu House).
- The company’s Halloween business was softer than expected due to the weather, but cold weather categories responded right away to the start of November’s chilly weather.