Inflation brought higher-income customers to Walmart, and the retailer's determined to keep them coming back
High-income shoppers have flocked to Walmart due to inflationary pressures and rising prices.
Walmart prides itself on offering "everyday low prices" no matter the economic environment.
Executives said in a recent earnings call that they want to retain shoppers through convenience.
Rising grocery prices brought higher-income shoppers to Walmart over the past year. And they're sticking around, company executives said in their most recent earnings call.
"As we think about the future of Walmart, we want to retain (higher-income shoppers) with better experiences and better product offerings, and we're seeing that with the actions that we're taking today," Walmart Chief Financial Officer John David Rainey said in a quarterly earnings call with analysts Thursday.
Walmart CEO and President Doug McMillon shared earlier in the call that the company is continuing to gain grocery market share as it attracts and retains higher-income shoppers.
This isn't the first time Walmart, which prides itself on "everyday low prices," has talked about the importance of higher-income shoppers to its bottom line. In August 2022, after a strong quarter of sales growth, Rainey told CNBC that nearly 75% of Walmart's market share gains at the time came from "customers with annual household incomes of $100,000 or more" who turned to the big-box stores' grocery aisles.
Customers' wallets have continued to be hit hard by inflation, especially in grocery store aisles. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics' Consumer Price Index, food prices for April were up 7.7% compared to the year prior.
The typical Walmart customer is a middle-aged, white, suburban woman with an income of roughly $80,000 per year, according to data from analytics firm Numerator. But the brand's low prices and penchant for discounting — or in Walmart parlance, rollbacks — have also historically attracted lower-income shoppers.
Yet, as food inflation remains "stubborn," per McMillon, higher-income shoppers looking to save a few bucks have stuck with the Bentonville, Arkansas-based retail giant.
Are you a higher-income shopper who has recently begun shopping at Walmart? We want to hear from you. Email reporter Ben Tobin at email@example.com.
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