A Walmart in Atlanta, Georgia, on Sunday, Feb. 19, 2023.
Dustin Chambers | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Walmart will report fiscal first-quarter earnings before the bell on Thursday, after Home Depot and Target said shoppers have pulled back on big-ticket items and discretionary purchases.
Here’s what Wall Street expects for the quarter, according to Refinitiv consensus estimates:
- Earnings per share: $1.32
- Revenue: $148.76 billion
As the nation’s largest grocer, Walmart may be in a stronger position than other retailers. Nearly 60% of the big-box retailer’s annual sales in the U.S. come from grocery, which may provide steadier sales if shoppers buy mostly necessities as they pull back on spending in the face of persistent inflation.
Walmart has attracted higher-income grocery shoppers over the past three quarters by emphasizing value, as food remains pricey. Its private brands, which cost less than national brands, account for more than 20% of its sales at Walmart and over 30% of sales at Walmart-owned Sam’s Club, the company’s Chief Financial Officer John David Rainey said last month at an investor day.
Yet customers may have less to spend in the grocery aisle, too. Pandemic-related emergency funding from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as food stamps, ended in March in most states. That means lower-income Americans will have to dig deeper to cover the cost of food while paying the rent and juggling other expenses.
Walmart gave a weaker-than-expected full-year outlook in February, saying it expects same-store sales for Walmart U.S. to rise between 2% and 2.5%, excluding fuel. It said adjusted earnings per share would range from $5.90 to $6.05, excluding fuel, for the fiscal year.
At an investor day in April, Walmart showed off an automated warehouse and emphasized its push to drive higher profits — even if sales continue to slow. CEO Doug McMillon said he expects profits to grow at a quicker pace than sales over the next five years as the retailer leans on automation and expands into higher-margin businesses like advertising and fulfillment services.
Shares of Walmart closed Wednesday at $149.53, bringing its market value to $403.33 billion. Its stock has climbed nearly 6% year to date. Shares have trailed the S&P 500‘s roughly 8% gain and the XRT‘s nearly 2% gain during the same period.