Doug McMillon, president and chief executive officer, Walmart
Inc, said he continued to be excited about the opportunity he saw in Flipkart
and its digital payments company, PhonePe.
“I got to visit our teams in India and China a few weeks ago. I’m impressed with the team and their ability to innovate for customers with speed,” said McMillon.
He was on a crucial visit to India in April to assess the progress made by Flipkart and discuss the strategy to take on its rival Amazon, according to sources.
During the quarter, the company returned $3.7 billion to shareholders through dividends and share repurchases. Its level of share repurchases increased significantly year-on-year in Q1.
Walmart’s operating income in the US grew 5.5 per cent because the gross margin rate was better than expected due to several factors including a better merchandise mix in both stores and e-commerce, and less pressure from transportation costs, partially offset by continued price investments.
This improvement was offset by some pressure from international results, including dilution from Flipkart, said the company.
The deconsolidation of Brazil benefited the first-quarter results. Net interest expense increased 28 per cent due primarily to the company’s bond issuance related to the Flipkart transaction.
Financial services firm Morgan Stanley
estimates the Indian online retail market to touch $200 billion by 2028, from about $30 billion last year.