Walmart Earnings Expected to Rise as Consumers Spend More on Necessities

A shift in consumer spending toward everyday staples likely boosted earnings at America’s biggest retailer

Shoppers at Walmart

Justin Sullivan / Staff / Getty Images

Walmart (WMT), America’s biggest retailer by revenue, is expected to report a rebound in earnings on solid growth in same-store sales, as cash-strapped consumers spend more on necessities amid an economic slowdown and persistently high inflation.

Key Takeaways

  • Net income at America’s biggest retailer is projected at just under $3.5 billion, up 70% from the year-ago quarter.
  • Walmart's earnings per share is expected to remain flat at $1.30.
  • Comparable store sales, which account for more than half of Walmart’s nearly $150 billion in revenue, likely rose 4.6% year-over-year.
  • A shift in consumer spending patterns likely benefited Walmart as U.S. consumers spent more on everyday necessities such as gas and groceries.

Net income (NI) is projected at almost $3.5 billion, up 70% from the same quarter last year, according to estimates compiled by Visible Alpha. Earnings per share (EPS) are forecast to be unchanged at $1.30. U.S. comparable store sales, which account for the majority of Walmart’s nearly $150 billion in revenue, likely rose 4.6% from a year ago, outpacing a 3% annual increase in the same quarter last year. Walmart will report its fiscal year 2024 first quarter results before markets open Thursday.

U.S. consumers are spending a greater share of their disposable income on necessities such as gas and groceries amid an economic slowdown and persistently high inflation. At the same time, they’re pulling back on big-ticket and discretionary purchases.

This trend could benefit Walmart, which for years has lured shoppers with low prices on everyday necessities. A study by consumer advocacy nonprofit Consumers’ Checkbook, which tracked the prices of 154 common grocery items, found that prices at Walmart were 16% lower than the average among stores they surveyed at the end of 2022.

Food and beverages now account for 60% of Walmart’s revenue, versus a 21% share at Target (TGT). Food prices in the U.S. rose 7.7% year-over-year in April, outpacing a 4.9% increase in the broader Consumer Price Index (CPI). Prices for food at home, a category that includes groceries, were up 7.1% compared to April of last year. Walmart has resisted raising prices at that rate this year, undercutting competitors like Amazon (AMZN) and Kroger (KR).

Walmart Key Metrics
  Q1 FY 2024 (Projected) Q1 FY 2023 Q1 FY 2022
U.S. Comparable Store Sales Growth (%) 4.57  3.00 6.00
Total Revenue ($M) 148,484 141,569 138,310
Earnings Per Share ($) 1.30 1.30 1.69

Walmart shares are up just over 5% year-to-date, outperforming an about 1.5% gain in the broader consumer staples sector over the same period.

Walmart (WMT) vs. S&P 500 Consumer Staples Sector, YTD Return


Article Sources
Investopedia requires writers to use primary sources to support their work. These include white papers, government data, original reporting, and interviews with industry experts. We also reference original research from other reputable publishers where appropriate. You can learn more about the standards we follow in producing accurate, unbiased content in our editorial policy.
  1. Consumers’ Checkbook. "Which Grocery Stores Offer the Best Prices and Quality?"

  2. Walmart Inc. "2023 Annual Report."

  3. Target Corp. 2022 Annual Report."

  4. Bureau of Labor Statistics. "Consumer Price Index Summary: April 2023."

  5. Pymnts. "Walmart Trades Margins for Loyalty to Keep Grocery Share."

Take the Next Step to Invest
The offers that appear in this table are from partnerships from which Investopedia receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where listings appear. Investopedia does not include all offers available in the marketplace.