Walmart ups outlook as back-to-school sales take off

Northwest Arkansas News

NEW YORK (AP) — Walmart is raising its sales outlook for the year as Americans returned to shopping for back-to-school clothes and travel goods during the fiscal second quarter.

Still, concerns are mounting over spending in the months ahead as the delta variant of COVID-19 surges across the U.S. and mask mandates are reinstated.

Walmart reported on Tuesday earnings of $4.27 billion, or $1.52 per share, during the three-month period ended July 31. That is a nickel better per share than Wall Street had expected, according to a survey by FactSet.

Net profit last year was $6.47 billion, or $1.77 adjusted per share.

Sales in the most recent quarter rose 2.2% to $139.87 billion, also better than the $137.02 billion industry analysts expected.

Sales at stores opened at least a year rose 5.2%, a bit of a slowdown from the 6% increase in the first quarter. Online sales growth dramatically slowed to 6% compared to the year ago’s 97% gain when the pandemic-induced lockdowns resulted in frenzied online spending. That followed a 37% increase in the first quarter and 69% increase in the fourth quarter.

Walmart is facing rising costs for everything from labor to shipping as supply chain back-ups hit companies worldwide.

Walmart now says that it expects sales at stores opened at least a year to be up 5% to 6% for the year; it had previously said the metric would be up in the low single digits.

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