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

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

This Jun 24, 2021 photo shows a Walmart store in Oklahoma City. (Photo: AP/Sue Ogrocki)

NEW YORK: Walmart is raising its sales outlook for the year as Americans, for the first time in a while, began shopping for back-to-school clothes in the second quarter, as well as things to wear when they travel.

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

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

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

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

Sales at stores opened at least a year rose 5.2 per cent, a bit of a slowdown from the 6 per cent increase in the first quarter. Online sales growth dramatically slowed to 6 per cent compared to the year ago's 97 per cent gain when the pandemic-induced lockdowns resulted in frenzied online spending. That followed a 37 per cent increase in the first quarter and 69 per cent 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 per cent to 6 per cent for the year; it had previously said the metric would be up in the low single digits.

Source: AP

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