Walmart reports jump in profit, warns on tariffs

18th May, 2019 09:40:22 printer

NEW YORK: Walmart reported a jump in first-quarter earnings on Thursday on increased US store sales and e-commerce growth but warned that higher US tariffs could hit its business.

The world’s biggest retailer, which has been unveiling new “omnichannel” retail ventures including a just-announced next-day delivery service in many US markets, pointed to increased US sales as evidence the strategy was working, reports AFP.

But executives joined a chorus of retailers who have warned about tariffs in the wake of the Trump administration’s latest moves in the long-running US-China dispute.

President Donald Trump has started a process to impose new duties on about $300 billion worth of additional Chinese merchandise, covering virtually everything China sells to the United States and encompassing household items such as clothing and appliances.

“We’re going to continue to do everything we can to keep prices low. It’s who we are,” Chief Financial Officer Brett Biggs said on a conference call with reporters. “However increased tariffs will lead to increased prices for our customers.”

Biggs said it was impossible to generalize about the effects of the potential tariff hikes, saying that the effect of levies varies by good. He declined to comment on specific item categories for competitive reasons.

Earnings for the first quarter came in at $3.8 billion, an increase of 80 percent from the year-ago period when results were dented by a one-time earnings hit following US tax reform.

Revenues climbed one percent to $123.9 billion.

Comparable sales at US stores — a key retail-sector benchmark closely-watched by Wall Street — jumped 3.4 percent, marking the company’s best performance in nine years, the company said.