-- Walmart (NYSE:) has lifted its annual adjusted earnings guidance, although the retail giant retained some caution around the state of the U.S. consumer heading into the crucial holiday shopping season.
Walmart now sees full-year adjusted income per share at between $6.40 to $6.48, up from its prior range of between $6.36 to $6.46, marking the second consecutive quarter in which it has raised its outlook. Bloomberg consensus estimates had called for guidance of $6.48.
Meanwhile, total U.S. comparable sales, excluding gasoline, rose by 4.7% in the third quarter, a faster clip than estimates of 3.35%, thanks to strength in the company's eponymous stores, its Sam's Club membership-only division, and its e-commerce offering. Adjusted per-share income of $1.53 also slightly beat forecasts.
"We had strong revenue growth across segments for the quarter, and we’re excited to get an early start to the holiday season," said Chief Executive Officer Doug McMillon in a statement.
He added that inventory is in "good shape" after having declined by 5% in the U.S. during the three months ended on Oct. 31.
Unlike some of its big-box peers, Walmart has largely been able to weather a downturn in spending on big-ticket items by leaning on its reputation for offering low costs on essentials like groceries.
However, Chief Financial Officer John David Rainey told Reuters that Walmart is still "cautious" regarding inflation-squeezed American consumers, as many shoppers choose to put off larger purchases ahead of promotional events like Black Friday and Cyber Monday. His comments echo sentiments from executives at rival Target, which has been hit by a downturn in discretionary expenditures.
Rainey also told CNBC that purchasing trends in the final weeks of October had "made us pause."
Shares in Walmart slipped in premarket U.S. trading on Thursday. The stock had touched a record high in the prior session after Target delivered a higher-than-projected fourth-quarter earnings estimate.
Walmart, Alibaba, Cisco stock fall premarket; Macy's, Catalent rise By