Walmart beats same-store sales estimates on buoyant online demand

Nov 17 (Reuters) - Walmart Inc posted a bigger-than-expected increase in quarterly same-store sales on Tuesday as a 79% surge in its online business powered overall rises in spending on electronics, apparel and groceries.

Sales at U.S. stores open at least a year rose 6.4%, excluding fuel, in the third quarter ended Oct. 31. Analysts had estimated an increase of 4.16%, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

The surge in demand for essentials at Walmart seen at the peak of the coronavirus lockdowns has carried into the second half of the year, with consumers relying on its same-day delivery options and store pick-up services to buy everything from groceries to sneakers.

Operating income jumped 22.5% to $5.79 billion in the quarter, while Walmart reported adjusted earnings per share of $1.34.

Total revenue rose 5.2% to $134.71 billion, beating estimates of $132.23 billion.

Reporting by Aishwarya Venugopal in Bengaluru and Melissa Fares in New York; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila