The Americans continued to pay despite worries about the global economy, and Walmart raised the outlook for US and government data showing stronger than expected retail sales.
Long regarded as a guarantor of middle-market spending, Walmart said US consumers were in "solid" financial shape as he shook off the Trump's trade war with Beijing and triggered turbulence elsewhere in brick-and-mortar retail.
However, domestic strength, which Walmart shares rose by about 5 percent on Thursday, was offset by a weaker outlook overseas. Executives said Brexit's uncertainty had impacted non-food sales in Asda's UK, where margins were also impacted by discounts.
The numbers of the world's largest retailer, with more than 11,300 stores and around 2.2 million employees worldwide, are being scrutinized as investors worry about the recession risk.
Downward data from China and Germany this week raised fears that a global slowdown could impact US consumer spending, which has helped the domestic economy. Another earnings warning from US department store chain Macy's this week added to concerns, while high-end fashion company Tapestry's shares fell 22 percent on Thursday after a disappointing earnings report.
However, economic data released on Thursday assured Wall Street that the difficulties in US retail are company-specific. The increase of 0.7 percent in July compared to the previous month was the strongest increase in four months.
The numbers were likely "flattered" by the event on Amazon's Prime Day in mid-July, but despite increasing levels of gloom, they still provided some positivity, said Michael Pearce, economist at Capital Economics. "Consumption growth remains strong".
The data could further complicate the interest rate strategy of the Federal Reserve. The Fed cut interest rates by 25 basis points last month, which was the first in a series of cuts to support the economy, according to many economists.
Walmart's second-quarter results on Thursday showed that fortunes vary worldwide. In the US, executives have increased their outlook for like-for-like sales. They now expect to rise "against the upper end" of an earlier range between 2.5 and 3 percent. "The economic health of our clients remains solid and our competitive position is strong," said Brett Biggs, chief financial officer.
The scale of the US grocery store protects Walmart from the worst retail pressures, and the company is also investing heavily online to raise awareness of Amazon, for example in picking up groceries where shoppers can shop and pick up online.
Investments weighed on gross profit margins, which declined 46bps in the quarter. Doug McMillon, CEO, however, said they were "paying off," noting that US e-commerce sales rose 37 percent in the quarter.
"More than ever before, we're innovating throughout the company, experimenting with new technologies to improve store operations and reduce friction," he said.
Executives were more cautious about Walmart's foreign interests, pointing to "softness" in Canada and the UK. They lowered the foreign-currency sales forecast forecast for the full year from a currency-adjusted increase of 5 percent to 3 to 4 percent.
"The uncertainty surrounding Brexit continues to deteriorate," said McMillon. Roger Burnley, Asda's CEO, said in a statement that the quarter provided a "case study on the impact of the nation's mood on UK spending habits." Walmart had planned to sell Asda to its rival J Sainsbury, but the competition regulator blocked the deal this year.
Despite the rather pessimistic outlook for overseas business, Walmart's US strength was enough to raise the Group's earnings forecast. Managers are now confident that they will make a profit this year, despite the investments the company is making. The goal is a slight decline to a slight increase in the operating result for the year. So far, they expected a decline in the low single-digit percentage range.
Group-wide, second-quarter revenue increased 1.8 percent year-on-year to $ 130.4 billion. Net income was $ 3.68 billion, compared to a loss of $ 727 million in the same three months one year ago.