Walmart (WMT) shares rebounded from earlier losses and are rising as the nation's biggest brick-and-mortar retailer posted solid fiscal 2023 fourth quarter results and raised its dividend, but issued weaker-than-expected guidance as inflation impacts consumer spending.
The company reported profit soared 76.2% to $6.28 billion, or $1.71 per share. Revenue was up 7.3% to $164 billion. U.S. comparable store sales rose 8.3%. All three exceeded estimates.
Sales were impacted by high prices, which led consumers to focus more of their dollars on necessities. Walmart noted that grocery sales jumped by a mid-teens percentage, and spending on pharmacy and other health and wellness items increased by a low-double-digit percentage. However, sales for general merchandise declined by a mid-single digit percentage.
CEO Doug McMillon indicated customers are "choiceful, discerning, thoughtful," and while they are still spending money, it's "obviously not clear" what the second half of the year will bring.
The company also announced it was raising its annual dividend by $0.04 to $2.28 per share. It was the 50th consecutive year Walmart boosted its dividend.
Walmart said it expects fiscal 2024 first quarter earnings per share (EPS) of $1.25 to $1.30, and full-year EPS of $5.90 to $6.05. Both missed analysts’ forecasts.
Shares of Walmart are gaining nearly 1%, and they're up 6% from a year ago.