Walmart flexes in 4th Q, beats all expectations

Associated Press

Feb. 20, 2019

NEW YORK  — Walmart defied a gloomy government retail sales report for December, delivering fiscal fourth-quarter profits and sales that beat Wall Street expectations.

The world’s largest retailer also enjoyed another quarter of surging e-commerce sales during the critical holiday period as it expanded its online assortment and services. Shares moved higher in morning trading Tuesday.

The report provides more evidence that Walmart’s efforts to expand online grocery services, including curbside pickup and home delivery, are widening the gap between itself and traditional rivals while at the same time holding its own against online leader Amazon.

The strong performance from the world’s largest retailer is especially encouraging after a very weak December retail sales report last week from the U.S. Commerce Department led many to fear that consumers had gone into hiding. Some analysts even questioned the reliability of the government report. The data, delayed by a government shutdown, hinted that a volatile stock market, a government impasse, and a trade war with China had taken their toll on the American psyche. That, at least in Walmart’s case, appears to be untrue.