Walmart 4QFY24: U.S. Comps +4% & U.S. Adjusted Operating Income +13%

Mar 12, 2024 | Corporate Insights, No Bull Economics

Walmart’s management was encouraged by the strength of its unit & transaction growth during the quarter. The retailer gained a share in almost every category, with a substantial contribution from households earning $100k+. In its general merchandise category, two-thirds of its share gains were driven by new high-income customers & digital sales (the company passed $100B in global eCommerce sales for the first time during the year). In any case, Walmart’s value & convenience resonates with consumers of all income levels, driving traffic & share.

Macro/Consumer

  • Walmart reported that a resilient global customer is looking for value & that a key component of its value equation includes rollbacks on food pricing in the U.S. which significantly increased y/y during 4Q following a big 3Q increase.
  • While deflation in general merchandise prices was less than expected, general merchandise prices are lower than a year ago, and even 2 years ago in some categories.
  • Retail prices for food & consumables increased slightly y/y. Food prices were lower than a year ago for eggs, apples & deli snacks, but higher for asparagus & blackberries.
  • Dry grocery & consumables categories (like paper goods & cleaning supplies) were up mid-single digits y/y & high teens versus 2 years ago.
  • Net/net, year-end retail prices on like-for-like items were inflated by about +80 bps.
  • Private brand penetration is up & management reported improved in-stock levels with inventory in great shape & down y/y (translating into fewer markdowns).

Walmart FY Sales Chart

Sales

  • U.S. net sales increased +3.4% y/y during the quarter with a +4% U.S. comp driven by +4.3% traffic partially offset by a -0.3% ticket decline. Results reflected strong holiday sales, market share gains & improved in-stock levels with inventory improvements.
  • Store fulfilled delivery sales increased +50% y/y & delivery has been a key source of share gains among upper-income households & is helping to drive the acquisition of Walmart+ members.
  • Walmart’s U.S. team delivered 3-year high customer satisfaction scores for pickup & delivery from stores and for those orders that flow directly from its eCommerce fulfillment centers.
  • New generative AI-powered search on the Walmart U.S. app facilitates the search of phrases like “Help me buy a Valentine’s Day gift”, which returns a curated list of relevant products.
  • Sam’s Club U.S. delivered comp sales growth of +3.1% y/y, with strength in food, consumables & health categories. eCommerce sales increased +17% y/y, with grocery shares increasing in both units & dollars.
  • Walmart’s global advertising business grew +33% y/y, including +22% for Walmart Connect in the U.S.
  • For 1QFY25, Walmart projects +4% to +5% y/y enterprise sales growth.

Margins

  • 4Q enterprise gross margins expanded +39 bps as consumers responded well to its pricing alignment. Additionally, lower markdowns resulted from strong inventory management, with Walmart U.S. inventory down -4.5% y/y & Sam’s down over -8% y/y.
  • Strong sales & margins drove a 13%+ increase in its enterprise-adjusted operating income during 4QFY24.
  • Operating income growth of +3% to +4.5% y/y is projected for 1QFY25.

Walmart 4Q24 Financials

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