President and Chief Executive Officer at Walmart
Good morning, and thanks for joining us to hear about our fourth quarter results. Let's jump right in. Our team delivered net sales growth of 7.6% and adjusted EPS growth of 9.3% excluding divestitures. We continued to gain market share in food and consumables in the U.S. and comp transactions were positive. Consumer demand during the quarter was strong and the team overcame a number of challenges in the U.S. and around the world to deliver these strong results.
Going into the quarter, we were confident that we had the people, the products and the prices to deliver and we did. Our inventory position improved and we delivered high sell-throughs in seasonal categories across markets. Food, consumables and apparel were also strong globally. We comped low single-digits in general merchandise in the U.S. against strong results last year, and Sam's Club saw broad-based strength across categories in the U.S. and in China.
Our merchants are doing a nice job of navigating the pressure from cost of goods inflation with our customers and shareholders in mind. I like how we're mixing out the business. Consolidated gross profit rate increased 10 basis points for the quarter, including more than 50 basis points in Walmart U.S. We're working closely with our suppliers to manage inflation, finding a few places where we can roll back prices, and we're paying close attention to how we manage our opening price point items. Q4 and the full-year are proof points that we can keep our price gaps in the range where we want them, grow market share and deliver against our top and bottom-line growth algorithm.
Our associates did an amazing job of serving customers and members during this busy season even as we faced Omicron and supply chain challenges. This quarter's COVID leave peak was larger than anything we'd experienced in 2020 or previously in 2021. We hired more associates in our plan called for to help fill that gap, which negatively impacted expenses, but it was clearly needed. I'm grateful to our associates and store and club management teams for how they set priorities on behalf of our customers and members during the quarter.
As I visit stores and clubs, it's inspiring to see how our team is navigating such a fluid environment. They're delivering tremendous growth, while making significant progress against our longer-term strategy. During the fiscal year just ended, excluding divestitures, we grew net sales by 9%, grew operating profit by 18%, invested $13 billion in capex to grow our business, returned $16 billion to shareholders via share buybacks and dividends, grew advertising business globally to $2.1 billion, and took important steps to build our U.S. financial services capabilities with agreements to make two key acquisitions.
Sometimes it feels like 2020 and 2021 were just one long year. If you look at growth since the beginning of fiscal '21 through the end of fiscal '22, excluding divestitures, our Company is about 17% larger in terms of revenue, 31% larger in terms of operating income, and globally, our percentage of digital sales grew from 6% to 13%. As the Company grows, we're fueled by the new business model and flywheel we outlined last year, our strategy is coming to life. Ensuring that we deliver our strategy is where I invest the majority of my time, it starts with the customer and earning primary destination. The big-basket stock-up trip is important. It's foundational to our relationship with families. We earn that shopping occasion by running great stores and clubs and offering seamless pickup and delivery experiences, including for our Walmart+ and InHome members in the U.S.
Our membership offering, Walmart+ continues to be an important piece of what we're building. We're adding capacity for pickup and delivery. We increased capacity by nearly 20% last year, and we expect to increase capacity by another 35% this year. For Walmart InHome, we recently announced an expansion of this membership service to make it available to about 30 million homes in the U.S., up from 6 million. To enable the expansion, we're creating roles for more than 3,000 associate delivery drivers. The majority of these roles will be filled by existing experienced associates. We'll be building out a fleet of all-electric delivery vans to support our delivery services, and our goal of a zero emissions logistics fleet by 2040. Our flywheel is designed to serve families more broadly, deepening our relationship with them and creating a healthy mix of merchandise and services for our business. Recently, we shared some news about our fintech startup in the U.S., that will operate under the ONE brand going forward. The combined talent of our JV leadership team and out of the pending acquisitions of ONE Finance and Even is impressive and our plans are aggressive.
We can help our customers and Walmart+ members save money, have an experience with less friction and help strengthen the financial position for millions of families. As with our advertising business, our financial services capabilities cross borders. Our PhonePe business in India is growing incredibly fast and we have strong capabilities in Mexico, which is such an important market for us. As we look to improve the customer experience and strengthen the mix of our business, expanding our marketplace is important. We added more than 20,000 new sellers to the platform in the U.S. last year and expect to add nearly 40,000 more this year.
We're now up to nearly 170 million SKUs and we're adding more every day. We opened up our U.S. Marketplace to sellers from India and created a dedicated team there to help sellers onboard and grow. Many sellers are looking to diversify their business and they're pushing us to add capabilities including the expansion of our fulfillment services. We grew our U.S. GMV delivered by our fulfillment services by 500% last year. We expect the robust growth will continue this year as we add more capacity.
For Q4, our fulfillment services represented 44% of total marketplace orders in India and 22% in Mexico. Growing our marketplace expands choice for our customers, helps our sellers grow and enhances our profit margins. Our plan for this year includes strengthening the experience for sellers and adding fulfillment capacity, so customers have access to more items faster. It's clear to me that we have years of profitable marketplace and fulfillment services growth ahead of us. Staying on the theme of fulfillment and scaling new businesses, we recently launched Walmart GoLocal, a last-mile delivery solution using our Spark Driver platform to help businesses of all sizes to reach more customers. GoLocal is making deliveries for the Home Depot and other large retailers, but I'm most excited about serving small local retailers.
We have nearly 1,000 GoLocal service pickup points and we expect to end this year closer to 5,000. This is good for customers, our clients and for us as we lower the cost per order by increasing the combined order size and the route density. As we bring more customers, sellers and suppliers into our ecosystem, it expands our ability to monetize those relationships. A great example is our advertising business. Globally, it's been growing at a high rate with high margins and is now a $2.1 billion business in only a few years, and we expect this strong growth to continue. And as our eCommerce business, including marketplace continues to grow so will our advertising business.
We're taking the learnings from the U.S. and India and growing in places like Mexico, Canada and Chile. Importantly, we're beginning to build tech platforms that can be leveraged in multiple countries. Our strong team of technologists and our digital transformation enable global synergies. We see traction in our core business, as well as in our newer businesses. There is real power and the ability to make these pieces mutually reinforcing. To design them such that one portion of a customer relationship leads them to another, because it's easy and intuitive. Connecting B2B opportunities like advertising enables us to grow earnings and make key investments at the same time.
Because of how the flywheel is coming together, I feel great about our ability to deliver against the growth algorithm we discussed last year of about 4% top-line growth and operating income growth rates higher than sales. We've highlighted the increased costs we had in Q4 from COVID, supply chain and wages, and some of these costs are likely to continue through part of this year, but I feel confident in the underlying strength of the business and our ability to deliver the growth we expect. The Walmart we're building is becoming more impactful for our customers and members, more digital, more automated and more diversified on the top and bottom-lines.
Now let's move on to our performance by operating segment. I'll begin with Walmart U.S. The team had a great holiday season, they drove comp sales of 5.6%. You know about our strength in food and consumables, but despite the supply chain challenges, the seasonal hardlines execution for holiday looked good in stores. We're continuing to navigate cost pressures and in-stock challenges, but overall, I'm really proud of the team for delivering the holiday season, and I believe we'll work our way to an improved in-stock level through the course of the year.
Building a seamless omnichannel experience for customers and prioritizing convenience for them is critical. Our stores have become hybrid, they're are both stores and fulfillment centers. Last year, we increased the number of orders coming from our stores by 170% versus the previous year, and that's on top of more than 500% from the year before. Having inventory so close to so many customers is a competitive advantage. In some cases, we're getting items to customers in hours rather than days. In Sam's Club U.S., the momentum continues. Sales and membership were strong. Excluding fuel and tobacco, comps were 10.8% for the quarter and nearly 26% on a two-year stack. Membership income grew 9.1%, driven by membership count, which reached another record high during the quarter.
The team leveraged operating expenses and grew operating income 24%, excluding fuel. They had another fantastic quarter and year. Sam's continues to drive digital innovation and add capabilities. Our Bold & Blue Club remodels and our strengthened pickup and delivery services will drive growth. At Walmart International, we had another strong year with good progress in all aspects of the flywheel. Overall, sales were strong again in Q4 with growth of 9.8% in constant currency excluding divestitures. China, Mexico and Flipkart led the way. Our 21% eCommerce penetration is a new record and up nearly 400 basis points from last year.
We get to serve a spectrum of holidays and festivals during the holiday quarter from Diwali and Big Billion Days in India through to preparation for Chinese New Year. During Big Billion Days, 40% of sellers were first-time sellers on the marketplace, and more than 100,000 kiranas participated by making last-mile deliveries. This is strong inclusive growth. While our omnichannel model gives the gift of time, access and affordability remain important. We're expanding our ecosystem and we've made investments in areas such as healthcare, marketplace, telecommunications and our online food business. A few great examples include the launch of Flipkart Health+, that aims to increase access to affordable care in India. And the acquisition of Foodmaestro in Canada to build more personalized shopping experiences for customers.
And BAIT [Phonetic], our value-based Internet and telephone service that enables customers in Mexico to enjoy digital connectivity surpassed 2 million members. It's great to see all three of our operating segments doing so well. I'm grateful to our strong and capable leadership team and to all of our associates. We've had an incredible couple of years during these challenging times. We have momentum in the business. We have aggressive plans, and we're executing on the strategy. It still feels like we're just getting started.
I'll now turn it over to Brett.