As inflation hovers on record highs not seen since the early nineties, Walmart expects a 5% growth in sales for 4Q21 raising its EPS guidance for a third consecutive quarter up from $6.20-$6.35 to $6.40.
Walmart’s better than expected performance was driven by increased market share in the grocery category which showed sales growth of nearly 10%, particularly in the food category which saw $3.6 billion increase in sales. The company’s health and wellness category also performed strongly, according to its 3Q21 earnings report, notably due to branded drug inflation and COVID vaccine administration.
Walmart’s positive numbers come as the US census’s retail and food sector report released Tueday showed a post-pandemic recovery trend with an increase of 1.7% in October compared with the previous month and a 16.3% year-over-year increase.
These increases were particularly strong in gasoline stations, which were up 46.8% year-over-year and food and drinking places, which were up 29.3% from 2020 as people started leaving their homes again.
Walmart’s inventory was up 11.5% in the expectation of a strong holiday season, reported the company.
Increased spending will meet high inflation this holiday season as October’s CPI index showed a 6.2% hike over the last year, driven notably by a 49.6% rise in gasoline prices.