““We certainly are watching the market very closely, but what we see from customers is that spending is still strong. There’s a lot of demand in the United States and we think that’s going to continue.””
— Walmart U.S. CEO John Furner
That’s the chief executive of Walmart Inc.’s
U.S. business, saying that despite the various financial pressures on consumers, the retail giant continues to see positive spending trends.
Speaking on NBC’s “Today” show earlier Wednesday, Walmart U.S. CEO John Furner declined to predict whether we’d see a recession, but he offered that consumers seem increasingly to be searching for “value” in the current economy.
In the last quarter, Walmart “saw a significant amount” of new customers who were “at higher incomes than what we have seen previously,” he said.
When pressed on whether consumers were hitting their financial breaking points, he said that circumstances vary.
“Some customers have been switching to private brands and smaller-pack sizes, and then other customers are in better shape, so it’s really different depending on where you are around the country,” according to Furner.
He said that Walmart was working to “take unnecessary costs out of any part of our business” so that the company “can reflect better retail values for customers.”
In general, he called out some categories that have seen better price trends. There’s been a bit of “moderating or disinflating” in proteins, and there’s also been “some deflation” in televisions and the broader world of consumer electronics, he said.
Walmart next reports earnings Nov. 15.