BENTONVILLE, Ark.-Sales gains and “our disciplined approach to operating the business”—as President and CEO Mike Duke expressed it—boosted Walmart to a 9 percent gain in third-quarter net income, to $3.6 billion.
Total net sales rose 3.4 percent to $113.2 billion in the quarter, which ended on Oct. 31. Among its business units, Sam’s Club led the way with a net sales pickup of 4.7 percent and a jump in operating income of 12.7 percent. Walmart U.S. posted increases of 2.4 percent in overall sales and 4.5 percent in operating income, while Walmart International reported gains of 2.4 percent and 4.8 percent in sales and operating income respectively.
On a same-store basis, Walmart U.S. sales rose 1.5 percent, while Sam’s Club posted an increase of 2.7 percent without fuel and 3.8 percent with fuel.
Selling, general and administrative expenses for the corporation as a whole edged up 2.5 percent in dollars, but declined 17 basis points as a percentage of sales to 19.7 percent, as Walmart continued to deliver on its pledge to leverage its operating expenses. Gross margin, meanwhile, fell 13 basis points to 24.5 percent.
In praising Walmart’s third-quarter performance, Duke added that the company is in a strong position for the fourth quarter. “Price will continue to be a major factor for U.S. customers over the holidays,” he said. “Our strong price position and broad assortment are clear competitive advantages.”
Duke said the company “made significant progress” in the third quarter in enhancing the walmart.com website for U.S. customers. It is also expanding e-commerce opportunities for shoppers in China, the United Kingdom and Brazil, he said.