BENTONVILLE, Ark.-Walmart finished its fiscal year with $5.6 billion in fourth-quarter net income, up 7.9 percent, bringing its fiscal-year bottom line to $17 billion, an increase of 7.8 percent over the prior year.
Net sales in the quarter, which ended on Jan. 31, rose 3.9 percent to $127.1 billion. This brought Walmart ever close to the half-a-trillion-dollar sales level for the year, with a total of $466.1 billion, up 5 percent from the previous year.
Looking into the sales total, most of Walmart’s increase in checkouts came from the international division, which scored gains of 6.9 percent in the quarter and 7.4 percent for the year. Walmart U.S. logged in a total sales increase of 2.5 percent in the quarter, including a pickup of 1 percent in same-store sales, and 3.9 percent for the year, including a same-store sales gain of 1.8 percent.
Sam’s Club reported overall sales rises of 3.4 percent for the quarter and 4.9 percent for the year. On a same-club basis, the warehouse club registered increases of 5.4 percent without gasoline and 6.8 percent with gasoline in the quarter. For the year, its same-club gains were 3.6 percent without gas and 3.9 percent with gas.
Gross margin in the quarter was relatively flat at 24.9 percent. Selling, general and administrative expenses rose 4.6 percent in dollars and 24 basis points as a percentage of sales, to 18.3 percent.
Mike Duke, Walmart’s president and CEO, credited the U.S. operation as a key driver for “a really good year and a solid fourth quarter” for the retail giant. For the new fiscal year, Duke said Walmart’s priorities would be delivering a strong U.S. business, improving returns from the international segment, driving greater efficiency through “disciplined capital allocation,” meeting the company’s five-year leverage goal, investing in global e-commerce and continuing to strengthen the company’s compliance organization.