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Walmart Posts Modest Q4 Gains

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has reported total fourth-quarter revenue on a reported basis of $129.7 billion. On a constant-currency basis, the mega-retailer’s total revenue was $134.4 billion, a 2.2 percent increase.

Walmart U.S.’s comparable-store sales were positive for the sixth straight quarter, edging up 0.6 percent, which the company attributed to a fifth consecutive quarter of positive traffic. Meanwhile, Neighborhood Market comps grew around 7 percent.

Walmart International net sales came to $32.7 billion on a reported basis, while on a constant-currency basis, net sales were $37.4 billion – a 3.3 percent rise, led by what the company described as “strength at Walmex and in Canada.”

Globally, on a constant-currency basis, e-commerce sales and gross merchandise value (GMV) increased about 8 percent, which Walmart explained was driven mainly by challenges in key international markets. 

“We had a solid fourth quarter to close out our fiscal year, with adjusted EPS of $1.49,” noted Doug McMillon, president and CEO of Bentonville, Ark.-based Walmart. “We are seeing momentum in our Walmart U.S. business as we continue to lap positive comps, and our international business is healthy and growing. We are pleased with fundamental trends that are allowing us to improve our stores, add critical capabilities and deepen our digital relationships with customers. Our initiatives are making it simpler and more convenient for customers to shop at Walmart.”

For fiscal 2015, the company’s total revenue on a reported basis was $482.1 billion, while on a constant-currency basis, it was 499.4 billion, a 2.8 percent rise. Adjusted EPS from continuing operations was $4.59. Globally, e-commerce sales on a constant currency basis grew about 12 percent to $13.7 billion, and GMV on a constant-currency basis rose around 13 percent.  

Investments in people and technology continued, as expected, with operating income falling 11.2 percent.                                           

Although Walmart noted that it generated $27.4 billion in operating cash flow and returned $10.4 billion to shareholders via dividends and share repurchases, gains are slower than in past quarters during a time of growing competition from online and brick-and-mortar rivals, resulting in an 8 percent decline in profit from the year-ago period and causing investors concern. In an attempt to improve its fortunes, Walmart earlier this year revealed it would close 269 stores worldwide and revamp its remaining locations.

Further, the company intends to create hundreds of management positions as part of a new program to enhance the fresh food offering at its U.S. stores, according to Reuters, and is gearing up to roll out fixed- and flex-shift scheduling for its employees following a two-year pilot and a 2015 pay raise, The Washington Post reported.                      

Walmart operates 11,535 stores under 72 banners in 28 countries, and e-commerce websites in 11 countries. The company employs about 2.2 million associates worldwide.

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