Walmart CEO says consumers ‘still stressed’ and forced to prioritize spending (WMT)

Walmart CEO Doug McMillon said Monday that US consumers “remain stressed” as customers at the retail giant continue to face higher prices.

“We have some more budget-conscious customers already under inflationary pressure for many months,” Walmart head (NYSE:WMT) told CNBC. “I think the lingering pressure in some categories is something that customers are having to deal with as we get closer to Christmas.”

McMillon describes budget-conscious consumers as being “pressured” by higher prices, though he added, “there are still plenty of people with money to spend.”

“What I can see is [the consumer] are being prioritized,” he said.

Looking at its position in the market, McMillon argues that WMT has grown recently because of its appeal as a value shopping destination, attracting customers looking to save money in times of high inflation. .

Walmart executives reported that inflation was most “stubborn” in its dry grocery business, which includes products like processed foods. He noted that “double-digit inflation rates have been around for a while” in this category and “look like they’re going to be with us for a while.”

Although WMT has slipped in recent weeks, the retailer’s stock has overall been bullish since early October. Shares have rallied about 18% over the past two months. WMT is also now higher for the year, showing an increase of around 5% in 2022.

This performance compares favorably with a diverse set of competitors. Low-cost retailer Dollar General (FIRE) is also showing gains for 2022, up nearly 4% year-to-date. However, Costco (PRICE) and Target (TGT) have all decreased significantly, with a decrease of 14% and 33% respectively in 2022.

Meanwhile, Amazon (AMZN), which has been affected by the overall trend away from technology stocks, has fallen 47% since the end of 2021. By comparison, the overall S&P 500 index (SP500) (spy) fell 17% by 2022.

For more on Walmart’s latest earnings report, released last month and easy top of expectationsSee why Seeking Alpha contributor Ahan Vashi thinks the company “reap the rewards of recession.”


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