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November 16, 2021 10:30 AM, EST

Walmart Boosts Outlook as Sales Rise Despite Inflation

Walmart Boosts Outlook as Sales Rise Despite Inflation An employee pulls a forklift with display units for DVD movies at a Walmart Stores Inc. location ahead of Black Friday in Los Angeles, Calif. (Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg)

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Walmart Inc. surpassed Wall Street’s expectations and lifted its outlook again, signaling that the retail giant is weathering global supply chain snarls and rising inflation.

Comparable sales in Walmart’s U.S. stores will grow more than 6% this year after excluding fuel, the company said Nov. 16 in a statement as it reported third-quarter results. That was up from a prior forecast of as low as 5%. Walmart also raised its earnings guidance.

The heightened expectations underscore Walmart’s confidence as it navigates scarce transportation capacity, a labor squeeze and rising fuel costs that are combining to spur the fastest growth in U.S. consumer prices in three decades. That points to upbeat prospects for the crucial holiday shopping season despite intensifying consumer anxiety amid the rising inflation rate.

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Despite the challenges — which also include lingering coronavirus outbreaks — customers aren’t shying away from in-store shopping.

“We gained market share in grocery in the U.S., and more customers and members are returning to our stores and clubs around the world,” Walmart CEO Doug McMillon said in the statement.

Walmart advanced 1.9% this year through Nov. 15, the worst in an S&P index of food and staples retailers, which has gained 18%. Target Corp., which reports results Nov. 17, surged 50% during the same period.

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For Veterans Day, host and Navy veteran Michael Freeze sits down with Army veterans James Rogers, owner of Spartan Direct Trucking Co. and 2020 Transport Topics Trucking's Frontline Hero, and John Baxter, equipment columnist. Hear a snippet above, and get the full program by going to RoadSigns.TTNews.com.

Comparable sales in the third quarter climbed 9.2% at Walmart’s U.S. stores after excluding fuel, the company said. That surpassed the 7% average of analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Adjusted earnings of $1.45 a share also outpaced expectations.

“After two quarters of reasonable but somewhat staid growth, Walmart has posted a very healthy uptick in sales,” Neil Saunders, managing director of GlobalData, said in a note. He said the retailer is poised to benefit from inflation, since it’s known for an everyday-low-price strategy. “As prices rise, more Americans turn to Walmart to help them save money.”

Walmart Inc. ranks No. 3 on the Transport Topics Top 100 list of the largest private carriers in North America.

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