|Basis of presentation
||Summary of Significant Accounting Policies
Walmart Inc. ("Walmart" or the "Company") helps people around the world save money and live better – anytime and anywhere – by providing the opportunity to shop in retail stores and through eCommerce. Through innovation, the Company is striving to continuously improve a customer-centric experience that seamlessly integrates eCommerce and retail stores in an omni-channel offering that saves time for its customers. Each week, the Company serves over 265 million customers who visit approximately 11,500 stores and numerous eCommerce websites under 56 banners in 27 countries.
The Company's operations comprise three reportable segments: Walmart U.S., Walmart International and Sam's Club.
Principles of Consolidation
The Consolidated Financial Statements include the accounts of Walmart and its subsidiaries as of and for the fiscal years ended January 31, 2020 ("fiscal 2020"), January 31, 2019 ("fiscal 2019") and January 31, 2018 ("fiscal 2018"). Intercompany accounts and transactions have been eliminated in consolidation. The Company consolidates variable interest entities where it has been determined that the Company is the primary beneficiary of those entities' operations. Investments for which the Company exercises significant influence but does not have control are accounted for under the equity method. These variable interest entities and equity method investments are immaterial to the Company's Consolidated Financial Statements.
The Company's Consolidated Financial Statements are based on a fiscal year ending on January 31 for the United States ("U.S.") and Canadian operations. The Company consolidates all other operations generally using a one-month lag and based on a calendar year. There were no significant intervening events during the month of January 2020 related to the operations consolidated using a lag that materially affected the Consolidated Financial Statements.
Use of Estimates
The Consolidated Financial Statements have been prepared in conformity with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles. Those principles require management to make estimates and assumptions that affect the reported amounts of assets and liabilities. Management's estimates and assumptions also affect the disclosure of contingent assets and liabilities at the date of the financial statements and the reported amounts of revenues and expenses during the reporting period. Actual results may differ from those estimates.
Cash and Cash Equivalents
The Company considers investments with a maturity when purchased of three months or less to be cash equivalents. All credit card, debit card and electronic transfer transactions that process in less than seven days are classified as cash and cash equivalents. The amounts due from banks for these transactions classified as cash and cash equivalents totaled $1.7 billion and $1.4 billion as of January 31, 2020 and 2019, respectively.
The Company's cash balances are held in various locations around the world. Most of the Company's $9.5 billion and $7.7 billion of cash and cash equivalents as of January 31, 2020 and January 31, 2019 were held outside of the U.S. Cash and cash equivalents held outside of the U.S. are generally utilized to support liquidity needs in the Company's non-U.S. operations.
The Company uses intercompany financing arrangements in an effort to ensure cash can be made available in the country in which it is needed with the minimum cost possible.
As of January 31, 2020 and 2019, cash and cash equivalents of approximately $2.3 billion and $2.8 billion, respectively, may not be freely transferable to the U.S. due to local laws or other restrictions. Of the $2.3 billion as of January 31, 2020, approximately $0.6 billion can only be accessed through dividends or intercompany financing arrangements subject to approval of Flipkart Private Limited ("Flipkart") minority shareholders; however, this cash is expected to be utilized to fund the operations of Flipkart.
Receivables are stated at their carrying values, net of a reserve for doubtful accounts, and are primarily due from the following: customers, which also includes insurance companies resulting from pharmacy sales, banks for customer credit, debit cards and electronic transfer transactions that take in excess of seven days to process; suppliers for marketing or incentive programs; governments for income taxes; and real estate transactions. As of January 31, 2020 and January 31, 2019, receivables from transactions with customers, net were $2.9 billion and $2.5 billion, respectively.
The Company values inventories at the lower of cost or market as determined primarily by the retail inventory method of accounting, using the last-in, first-out ("LIFO") method for the Walmart U.S. segment's inventories. The inventory for the Walmart International segment is valued primarily by the retail inventory method of accounting, using the first-in, first-out ("FIFO") method. The retail inventory method of accounting results in inventory being valued at the lower of cost or market, since permanent markdowns are immediately recorded as a reduction of the retail value of inventory. The inventory at the Sam's Club segment is valued using the weighted-average cost LIFO method. As of January 31, 2020 and January 31, 2019, the Company's inventories valued at LIFO approximated those inventories as if they were valued at FIFO.
Assets Held for Sale
Assets held for sale represent components and businesses that meet accounting requirements to be classified as held for sale and are presented as single asset and liability amounts in the Company's financial statements with a valuation allowance, if necessary, to recognize the net carrying amount at the lower of cost or fair value, less costs to sell. The Company reviews all businesses and assets held for sale each reporting period to determine whether the existing carrying amounts are fully recoverable in comparison to estimated fair values. As of January 31, 2020 and January 31, 2019, immaterial amounts for assets and liabilities held for sale were classified in prepaid expenses and other and accrued liabilities, respectively, in the Consolidated Balance Sheets.
Property and Equipment
Property and equipment are initially recorded at cost. Gains or losses on disposition are recognized as earned or incurred. Costs of major improvements are capitalized, while costs of normal repairs and maintenance are expensed as incurred. The following table summarizes the Company's property and equipment balances and includes the estimated useful lives that are generally used to depreciate the assets on a straight-line basis:
As of January 31,
(Amounts in millions)
Estimated Useful Lives
Buildings and improvements
Fixtures and equipment
Construction in progress
Property and equipment
Property and equipment, net
Leasehold improvements are depreciated or amortized over the shorter of the estimated useful life of the asset or the remaining expected lease term. Total depreciation and amortization expense for property and equipment, property under finance leases and financing obligations, property under capital leases and intangible assets for fiscal 2020, 2019 and 2018 was $11.0 billion, $10.7 billion and $10.5 billion, respectively.
In February 2016, the FASB issued ASU 2016-02, Leases (Topic 842), which requires lease assets and liabilities to be recorded on the balance sheet. The Company adopted this ASU and related amendments as of February 1, 2019 under the modified retrospective approach and elected certain practical expedients permitted under the transition guidance, including to retain the historical lease classification as well as relief from reviewing expired or existing contracts to determine if they contain leases. For leases subject to index or rate adjustments, the most current index or rate adjustments were included in the measurement of operating lease obligations at adoption.
The adoption of this ASU and related amendments resulted in a $14.8 billion increase to total assets and a $15.1 billion increase to total liabilities in the first quarter of fiscal 2020. In the first quarter of fiscal 2020, the Company recognized $16.8 billion and $17.5 billion of operating lease right-of-use assets and operating lease obligations, respectively, and removed $2.2 billion and $1.7 billion, respectively, of assets and liabilities related to financial obligations connected with the construction of leased stores. Several other asset and liability line items in the Company's Consolidated Balance Sheet were also impacted by immaterial amounts. Additionally, the adoption resulted in a cumulative-effect adjustment to retained earnings of approximately $0.3 billion, net of tax, which primarily consisted of the recognition of impairment. The Company’s Consolidated Statement of Income and Consolidated Statement of Cash Flows were immaterially impacted. Accounting policies as a result of the adoption of this ASU are described below. Refer to Note 7 for additional lease disclosures.
For any new or modified lease, the Company, at the inception of the contract, determines whether a contract is or contains a lease. The Company records right-of-use ("ROU") assets and lease obligations for its finance and operating leases, which are
initially recognized based on the discounted future lease payments over the term of the lease. As the rate implicit in the Company's leases is not easily determinable, the Company’s applicable incremental borrowing rate is used in calculating the present value of the sum of the lease payments.
Lease term is defined as the non-cancelable period of the lease plus any options to extend or terminate the lease when it is reasonably certain that the Company will exercise the option. The Company has elected not to recognize ROU asset and lease obligations for its short-term leases, which are defined as leases with an initial term of 12 months or less.
For a majority of all classes of underlying assets, the Company has elected to not separate lease from non-lease components. For leases in which the lease and non-lease components have been combined, the variable lease expense includes expenses such as common area maintenance, utilities, and repairs and maintenance.
Impairment of Long-Lived Assets
Management reviews long-lived assets for indicators of impairment whenever events or changes in circumstances indicate that the carrying amount may not be recoverable. The evaluation is performed at the lowest level of identifiable cash flows, which is at the individual store or club level. Undiscounted cash flows expected to be generated by the related assets are estimated over the assets' useful lives based on updated projections. If the evaluation indicates that the carrying amount of the assets may not be recoverable, any potential impairment is measured based upon the fair value of the related asset or asset group as determined by an appropriate market appraisal or other valuation technique.
Goodwill and Other Acquired Intangible Assets
Goodwill represents the excess of the purchase price over the fair value of net assets acquired in business combinations and is allocated to the appropriate reporting unit when acquired. Other acquired intangible assets are stated at the fair value acquired as determined by a valuation technique commensurate with the intended use of the related asset. Goodwill and indefinite-lived intangible assets are not amortized; rather, they are evaluated for impairment annually and whenever events or changes in circumstances indicate that the value of the asset may be impaired. Definite-lived intangible assets are considered long-lived assets and are amortized on a straight-line basis over the periods that expected economic benefits will be provided.
Goodwill is assigned to the reporting unit which consolidates the acquisition. Components within the same reportable segment are aggregated and deemed a single reporting unit if the components have similar economic characteristics. As of January 31, 2020, the Company's reporting units consisted of Walmart U.S., Walmart International and Sam's Club. Goodwill is evaluated for impairment using either a qualitative or quantitative approach for each of the Company's reporting units. Generally, a qualitative assessment is first performed to determine whether a quantitative goodwill impairment test is necessary. If management determines, after performing an assessment based on the qualitative factors, that the fair value of the reporting unit is more likely than not less than the carrying amount, or that a fair value of the reporting unit substantially in excess of the carrying amount cannot be assured, then a quantitative goodwill impairment test would be required. The quantitative test for goodwill impairment is performed by determining the fair value of the related reporting units. Fair value is measured based on the discounted cash flow method and relative market-based approaches. After evaluation, management determined the fair value of each reporting unit is significantly greater than the carrying amount and, accordingly, the Company has not recorded any impairment charges related to goodwill.
The following table reflects goodwill activity, by reportable segment, for fiscal 2020 and 2019:
(Amounts in millions)
Balances as of February 1, 2018
Changes in currency translation and other
Balances as of January 31, 2019
Changes in currency translation and other
Balances as of January 31, 2020
(1) Goodwill recorded in fiscal 2019 for Walmart International relates to Flipkart.
Intangible assets are included in other long-term assets in the Company's Consolidated Balance Sheets. As of January 31, 2020 and 2019, the Company had $5.2 billion and $5.8 billion, respectively, in indefinite-lived intangible assets which is primarily made up of acquired trade names. Refer to Note 12 for additional information related to acquired intangible assets for the Flipkart acquisition. During fiscal 2020, the Company incurred approximately $0.7 billion in impairment charges related to its intangible assets. There were no significant impairment charges related to intangible assets for fiscal 2019 and 2018. Refer to Note 8 for additional information.
Fair Value Measurement
In January 2016, the Financial Accounting Standards Board ("FASB") issued Accounting Standards Update ("ASU") 2016-01, Financial Instruments–Overall (Topic 825), which updated certain aspects of recognition, measurement, presentation and disclosure of financial instruments ("ASU 2016-01"). The Company adopted this ASU on February 1, 2018, which primarily impacted the Company's accounting for its investment in JD.com, Inc. ("JD") and resulted in a positive adjustment to retained earnings of approximately $2.6 billion, net of tax, in fiscal 2019 based on the market value of the Company's investment in JD as of January 31, 2018. The adoption required prospective changes in fair value of the Company's investment in JD to be recorded in the Consolidated Statement of Income, which the Company classifies in other gains and losses.
The Company records and discloses certain financial and non-financial assets and liabilities at fair value. The fair value of an asset is the price at which the asset could be sold in an orderly transaction between unrelated, knowledgeable and willing parties able to engage in the transaction. The fair value of a liability is the amount that would be paid to transfer the liability to a new obligor in a transaction between such parties, not the amount that would be paid to settle the liability with the creditor. Refer to Note 8 for more information.
Self Insurance Reserves
The Company self-insures a number of risks, including, but not limited to, workers' compensation, general liability, auto liability, product liability and certain employee-related healthcare benefits. Standard actuarial procedures and data analysis are used to estimate the liabilities associated with these risks as of the balance sheet date on an undiscounted basis. The recorded liabilities reflect the ultimate cost for claims incurred but not paid and any estimable administrative run-out expenses related to the processing of these outstanding claim payments. On a regular basis, the liabilities are evaluated for appropriateness with claims reserve valuations. To limit exposure to some risks, the Company maintains insurance coverage with varying limits and retentions, including stop-loss insurance coverage for workers' compensation, general liability and auto liability.
The Company uses derivatives for hedging purposes to manage its exposure to changes in interest and currency exchange rates, as well as to maintain an appropriate mix of fixed- and variable-rate debt. Use of derivatives in hedging programs subjects the Company to certain risks, such as market and credit risks. The Company may be exposed to credit-related losses in the event of nonperformance by its counterparties to derivatives. Credit risk is monitored through established approval procedures, including setting concentration limits by counterparty, reviewing credit ratings and requiring collateral from the counterparty. The Company enters into derivatives with counterparties rated only "A-" or better by nationally recognized credit rating agencies. The Company is subject to master netting arrangements which provides set-off and close out netting of exposures with counterparties, but the Company does not offset derivative assets and liabilities in its Consolidated Balance Sheets. The Company’s collateral arrangements requires the counterparty in a net liability position in excess of pre-determined thresholds, after considering the effects of netting arrangements, to pledge cash collateral. Cash collateral received under these arrangements was not significant as of January 31, 2020 and 2019. The Company was not required to provide any cash collateral to counterparties as of January 31, 2020 and 2019.
In order to qualify for hedge accounting, at the inception of the hedging relationship, the Company formally documents its risk management objective and strategy for undertaking the hedging transaction, as well as its designation of the hedge. If a derivative is recorded using hedge accounting, depending on the nature of the hedge, derivative gains and losses are recorded through the same financial statement line item in earnings or are recognized in accumulated other comprehensive loss until the hedged item is recognized in earnings. Derivatives that do not meet the criteria for hedge accounting, or contracts for which the Company has not elected hedge accounting, are recorded at fair value with unrealized gains or losses reported in earnings. Derivatives with an unrealized gain are recorded in the Company's Consolidated Balance Sheets as either current or non-current assets, based on maturity date, and derivatives with an unrealized loss are recorded as either current or non-current liabilities, based on maturity date. Refer to Note 8 for the presentation of the Company's derivative assets and liabilities.
Fair Value Hedges
The Company is a party to receive fixed-rate, pay variable-rate interest rate swaps that the Company uses to hedge the fair value of fixed-rate debt. All interest rate swaps designated as fair value hedges of the related long-term debt meet the shortcut method requirements under U.S. GAAP. Accordingly, changes in the fair values of these interest rate swaps are considered to exactly offset changes in the fair value of the underlying long-term debt. These derivatives will mature on dates ranging from October 2020 to April 2024.
Cash Flow Hedges
The Company is a party to receive fixed-rate, pay fixed-rate cross currency interest rate swaps used to hedge the currency exposure associated with the forecasted payments of principal and interest of certain non-U.S. denominated debt. The Company records changes in the fair value of these swaps in accumulated other comprehensive loss which is subsequently
reclassified into earnings in the period that the hedged forecasted transaction affects earnings. These derivatives will mature on dates ranging from April 2022 to March 2034.
Net Investment Hedges
The Company is a party to receive fixed-rate, pay fixed-rate cross currency interest rate swaps used to hedge the currency exposure associated with net investments of certain of its foreign operations. The Company records changes in fair value attributable to the hedged risk in accumulated other comprehensive loss. These derivatives will mature on dates ranging from July 2020 to February 2030. The Company also designated certain foreign currency denominated long-term debt as a hedge of currency exposure associated with the net investment of these operations. The Company records foreign currency gain or loss associated with designated long-term debt in accumulated other comprehensive loss. As of January 31, 2020 and 2019, the Company had $3.9 billion, respectively, of outstanding long-term debt designated as net investment hedges.
These derivative and non-derivative gains or losses continue to defer in accumulated other comprehensive loss until the sale or substantial liquidation of these foreign operations.
Income taxes are accounted for under the balance sheet method. Deferred tax assets and liabilities are recognized for the estimated future tax consequences attributable to differences between the financial statement carrying amounts of existing assets and liabilities and their respective tax bases ("temporary differences"). Deferred tax assets and liabilities are measured using enacted tax rates in effect for the year in which those temporary differences are expected to be recovered or settled. The effect on deferred tax assets and liabilities of a change in tax rate is recognized in income in the period that includes the enactment date.
Deferred tax assets are evaluated for future realization and reduced by a valuation allowance to the extent that a portion is not more likely than not to be realized. Many factors are considered when assessing whether it is more likely than not that the deferred tax assets will be realized, including recent cumulative earnings, expectations of future taxable income, carryforward periods, and other relevant quantitative and qualitative factors. The recoverability of the deferred tax assets is evaluated by assessing the adequacy of future expected taxable income from all sources, including reversal of taxable temporary differences, forecasted operating earnings and available tax planning strategies. These sources of income rely on estimates.
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act contains a provision which subjects a U.S. parent of a foreign subsidiary to current U.S. tax on its global intangible low–taxed income (“GILTI”). The GILTI income is eligible for a deduction, which lowers the effective tax rate to 10.5% for calendar years 2018 through 2025 and 13.125% after 2025. The Company will report the tax impact of GILTI as a period cost when incurred. Accordingly, the Company is not providing deferred taxes for basis differences expected to reverse as GILTI.
In determining the provision for income taxes, an annual effective income tax rate is used based on annual income, permanent differences between book and tax income, and statutory income tax rates. Discrete events such as audit settlements or changes in tax laws are recognized in the period in which they occur.
The Company records a liability for unrecognized tax benefits resulting from uncertain tax positions taken or expected to be taken in a tax return. The Company records interest and penalties related to unrecognized tax benefits in interest expense and operating, selling, general and administrative expenses, respectively, in the Company's Consolidated Statements of Income. Refer to Note 9 for additional income tax disclosures.
The Company recognizes sales revenue, net of sales taxes and estimated sales returns, at the time it sells merchandise or services to the customer. eCommerce sales include shipping revenue and are recorded upon delivery to the customer. Estimated sales returns are calculated based on expected returns.
Membership Fee Revenue
The Company recognizes membership fee revenue both in the U.S. and internationally over the term of the membership, which is typically 12 months. Membership fee revenue was $1.5 billion for fiscal 2020 and $1.4 billion for each of fiscal 2019 and 2018, respectively. Membership fee revenue is included in membership and other income in the Company's Consolidated Statements of Income. Deferred membership fee revenue is included in accrued liabilities in the Company's Consolidated Balance Sheets.
Customer purchases of gift cards are not recognized as sales until the card is redeemed and the customer purchases merchandise using the gift card. Gift cards in the U.S. and some countries do not carry an expiration date; therefore, customers and members
can redeem their gift cards for merchandise and services indefinitely. Gift cards in some countries where the Company does business have expiration dates. While gift cards are generally redeemed within 12 months, a certain number of gift cards, both with and without expiration dates, will not be fully redeemed. Management estimates unredeemed balances and recognizes revenue for these amounts in membership and other income in the Company's Consolidated Statements of Income over the expected redemption period.
Financial and Other Services
The Company recognizes revenue from service transactions at the time the service is performed. Generally, revenue from services is classified as a component of net sales in the Company's Consolidated Statements of Income.
Cost of Sales
Cost of sales includes actual product cost, the cost of transportation to the Company's distribution facilities, stores and clubs from suppliers, the cost of transportation from the Company's distribution facilities to the stores, clubs and customers and the cost of warehousing for the Sam's Club segment and import distribution centers. Cost of sales is reduced by supplier payments that are not a reimbursement of specific, incremental and identifiable costs.
Payments from Suppliers
The Company receives consideration from suppliers for various programs, primarily volume incentives, warehouse allowances and reimbursements for specific programs such as markdowns, margin protection, advertising and supplier-specific fixtures. Payments from suppliers are accounted for as a reduction of cost of sales, except in certain limited situations when the payment is a reimbursement of specific, incremental and identifiable costs, and are recognized in the Company's Consolidated Statements of Income when the related inventory is sold.
Operating, Selling, General and Administrative Expenses
Operating, selling, general and administrative expenses include all operating costs of the Company, except cost of sales, as described above. As a result, the majority of the cost of warehousing and occupancy for the Walmart U.S. and Walmart International segments' distribution facilities is included in operating, selling, general and administrative expenses. Because the Company only includes a portion of the cost of its Walmart U.S. and Walmart International segments' distribution facilities in cost of sales, its gross profit and gross profit as a percentage of net sales may not be comparable to those of other retailers that may include all costs related to their distribution facilities in cost of sales and in the calculation of gross profit.
Advertising costs are expensed as incurred, consist primarily of print, television and digital advertisements and are recorded in operating, selling, general and administrative expenses in the Company's Consolidated Statements of Income. In certain limited situations, reimbursements from suppliers that are for specific, incremental and identifiable advertising costs are recognized as a reduction of advertising costs in operating, selling, general and administrative expenses. Advertising costs were $3.7 billion, $3.5 billion and $3.1 billion for fiscal 2020, 2019 and 2018, respectively.
The assets and liabilities of all international subsidiaries are translated from the respective local currency to the U.S. dollar using exchange rates at the balance sheet date. Related translation adjustments are recorded as a component of accumulated other comprehensive loss. The Company's Consolidated Statements of Income of all international subsidiaries are translated from the respective local currencies to the U.S. dollar using average exchange rates for the period covered by the income statements.
Recent Accounting Pronouncements
In June 2016, the FASB issued ASU 2016-13, Financial Instruments–Credit Losses (Topic 326), which modifies the measurement of expected credit losses of certain financial instruments. The Company adopted this ASU on February 1, 2020 with no material impact to the Company's Consolidated Financial Statements.