BENTONVILLE, Ark.–A strong performance from Sam’s Club and its global operations ferried Walmart to a 3 percent gain in net income in its first quarter, to $3.4 billion.
Overall net sales rose 4.4 percent to $103.4 billion, including gains of 11.5 percent in sales from Walmart International and 9.4 percent from Sam’s Club. While gross margin fell 30 basis points to 24.4 percent, selling, general and administrative expenses declined 18 basis points as a percentage of sales to 19.5 percent, while increasing 3.4 percent in dollars.
Walmart’s U.S. same-store sales fell 1.1 percent. Mike Duke, president and CEO, said, “We recognize we still have work to do and comp-sales growth remains the greatest priority for me and the entire U.S. Walmart team.” Duke said the strategies launched by Bill Simon, president of Walmart U.S., and his team to boost same-store numbers are “gaining traction.”
Duke also said the company’s e-commerce initiatives are on a growth track with the recent acquisition of Kosmix, a developer of social-media technology, and its plan to purchase of a minority stake of Yihaodian, a China-based online retailer. “We expect ongoing activity in the e-commerce area around the world,” he said.