Walmart had a banner holiday sales quarter. Quarterly comparable store sales in the U.S. rose a robust 4.2 percent. That was much higher than what analysts expected. The world's largest retailer has now managed to grow those sales for four straight years - a feat no other retailer has matched. Strong consumer spending and the early distribution of federal food stamp aid due to the partial government shutdown boosted sales.
Moody's analyst Charlie O'Shea said, "Walmart's blowout fourth quarter continues to validate its strategic investments with online sales growth leading what was very strong performance on all fronts."
Walmart's expansion of its online grocery pickup and delivery services helped drive online sales up 43 percent.
What's more, Walmart's quarterly profit also rose and crushed Wall Street's targets.
The retailer's positive data assuaged investors after last week's government report showed retail sales suffered their biggest drop in December in more than nine years.
The company's shares jumped higher at the market open on Tuesday, adding to their 7 percent gain this year. The results lifted shares of rival Target, too.