It’s true. Sam’s Club smoked its first quarter same-store sales guidance that called for a 1% to 3% increase by hanging a 4.2% increase on the board and managed to grow operating profits by 7% to $459 million, easily outpacing the performance of Walmart’s U.S. stores and international division.
When was the last time anyone could say that about Sam’s Club? But there you have it. Sam’s Club is getting it done, and now has five consecutive quarters of sequentially higher same-store sales, and second quarter guidance in the range of 3% to 5% envisions the possibility of a sixth.
Higher year-over-year fuel prices boosted the topline sales figure considerably, but that 4.2% first-quarter comp gains reflects merchandise sales only. Without the beneficial effect of gas prices that on average were about 35% higher during the first quarter compared to a year earlier, Sam’s sales increased 4.9% to $11.3 billion.
The same-store sales growth was broad-based in terms of increased customer traffic and larger average transaction sizes.
“From a merchandise perspective, comp increases were strong across fresh foods, grocery, home and apparel categories,” said Sam’s Club president and CEO Brian Cornell. “We continue to see inflation in key categories such as produce, meat and dairy. However, we managed through inflation, with little impact on our margin and have seen continued growth in units sold year-over-year.”