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Walmart posts strong start to fiscal 2021

The retailer’s first quarter demonstrated a more than 6% gain for Walmart and Sam’s Club comp sales and an e-commerce gain in the mid-double digits.
Dan Ochwat
Executive Editor
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With a run on retailers posting quarterly sales losses, as they compare last year’s pandemic boon with the current quarter, Walmart reported strong growth in comp-store sales and e-commerce sales for the first quarter of fiscal year 2021.

The company saw comparable sales for the 13 weeks ended April 30 rise 6% for Walmart U.S. stores and up 7.2% for Sam’s Club stores, totaling a 6.2% increase without factoring in fuel. By comparison, last year’s quarter was up more than 10% for the company under peak pandemic conditions.

“This was a strong quarter. Every segment performed well, and we’re encouraged by traffic and grocery market share trends,” said Doug McMillon, president and CEO, Walmart. “Our optimism is higher than it was at the beginning of the year. In the U.S., customers clearly want to get out and shop. We have a strong position as our store environment improves and e-commerce continues to grow.”

Walmart U.S. e-commerce sales jumped 37% and Sam’s Club e-commerce sales grew 47%, as the company reported that its total member count has reached an all-time high. Total revenue for the quarter was $138.3 billion for the company. Walmart International net sales were $27.3 billion, a decrease of $2.5 billion, or 8.3%, and e-commerce sales increased 49%.

Looking at grocery alone, sales declined slightly and were up in the low double digits on a two-year stacked basis, according to the retailer. Health and wellness merchandise were up comparable sales in the mid single digits due to strong sales in branded drug inflation. General merchandise was up in the low 20% range as sales were aided by stimulus spending and a strong push in home improvement projects at home, apparel, sporting goods and outdoor living.

“Stimulus in the U.S. had an impact, and the second half has more uncertainty than a typical year,” said McMillon. “We anticipate continued pent-up demand throughout 2021. Our results reflect the continued hard work and commitment our associates have shown throughout the pandemic — serving others and helping provide vaccines — and we’re grateful to them."