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Walmart Tops Q3 Earnings Forecast As Online Activity Boosts U.S. Same-Store Sales

Walmart said a near 80% surge in e-commerce activity helped at 570 basis points to same-store sales as third quarter earnings topped Wall Street forecasts.

Walmart Inc.  (WMT)  posted stronger-than-expected third quarter earnings Tuesday, with e-commerce activity boosting same-store sales for the world's biggest retailer.

Walmart said adjusted earnings for the three months ending in October came in at $$1.34 per share, up 15.5% from the same period last year and well ahead of the Street consensus forecast of $1.18 per share. Group revenues, Walmart said, rose 5.2% from last year to $134.7 billion, again beating analysts' estimates of a $132.2 billion tally.

U.S. same-store sales rose 6.4% from last year, Walmart said, topping the Refinitiv forecast of 4.6%, "with strength across key categories, including general merchandise, health & wellness and food" while e-commerce sales surged 79%, adding around 570 basis points to the overall comparable sales total.

"This was another strong quarter on the top and bottom line. Our associates continue to impress during this challenging year," said CEO Doug McMillon. "They are working together to serve customers and communities in new, relevant ways and we’re very proud of them. We think these new customer behaviors will largely persist and we’re well positioned to serve customers with the value and experience they’re looking for. ”  

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Walmart shares were marked 0.7% lower in early trading immediately following the earnings release to change hands at $151.67 each.

Walmart's newly-launched Walmart-Plus membership service, had solid gains over the quarter, while COVID costs rose to $600 million.

Sam's Club's comparable sales rose 11.1%, Walmart said, as e-commerce sales grew 41% from the same period last year.

Earlier Tuesday, Home Depot (HD)  posted stronger-than-expected third quarter earnings as well, but its shares slipped lower after unveiling plans to spend around $1 billion on bonuses and compensation increases for its frontline workers.