Everyone Shops at Walmart

Walmart Inc. (NYSE: WMT) has posted its earnings, and they were close to spectacular. So was the increase in the company’s guidance. Its numbers were much better than rival Target’s. Home improvement retail giant Home Depot posted awful numbers just days ago. The Walmart figures said one thing. Almost everyone used to shop at Walmart. Now, everyone does. (These companies control over half their industries.)

In the most recent quarter, revenue rose 7.7% to $152.3 billion. That is a staggering increase for such a large company. Walmart remains the largest company in the United States based on revenue, and it employs over a million people. Operating income rose 17.3% to $6.2 billion. U.S. same-store sales rose a muscular 7.4%, and e-commerce revenue was up 27%.

Walmart’s revenue in the United States was up for at least two reasons. Its normal customers, who are not at the top of the U.S. income totem pole, continued to shop in its stores and online. Additionally, people with higher median incomes have turned to Walmart, which became more attractive because of inflation. In essence, Walmart is expanding its customer base.

Walmart has two important advantages over most of its rivals. It has 5,173 retail locations. It is said that 90% of Americans live within 10 miles of a Walmart store.

Walmart is one of the largest, if not the largest, grocery retailers in the country. Food prices, in particular, have been hit by inflation. Low grocery prices help draw customers as well.

For a number of years, there was concern among Walmart shareholders that it would be beaten up by Amazon or smaller brick-and-mortar retailers. That has not happened. If anything, with its expanding customer base, it has become more powerful.

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