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Trump: US economy, American consumer 'doing incredibly well'

Blair Shiff

President Trump on Thursday held up Walmart's latest strong quarterly results as indicative of how well the U.S. economy is doing, and added that American tariffs on Chinese goods also helped the nation's economy.

"Walmart announced, others announced. We had some tremendous numbers come out today, which I'm sure you saw," Trump said to reporters in Morristown, New Jersey, before heading to an event in Manchester, New Hampshire. "So, we're very happy about that. We're doing very well. The economy is incredible. The consumer, probably above all else, the consumer is doing incredibly."

Trump was referencing Walmart's earnings and outlook for the rest of the year. In hopes of competing with Amazon, the Arkansas-based retailer has invested in its online operations and is launching a slew of services, including InHome Delivery, an offering under which Walmart associates will deliver groceries directly to a person’s home.

Their second-quarter results show the initiatives are having early payoffs.

On Thursday, the world’s largest retailer topped earnings estimates, reporting profits of $3.61 billion, or $1.27 per share, on revenue of $130 billion. Meanwhile, same-store sales grew 2.8 percent in the quarter as online sales increased 37 percent.

“We’re experimenting with emerging technologies to improve store operations and reduce friction in our customers’ lives," CEO Doug McMillon said in prepared comments. "The initiatives we have underway provide extended access to our brand and position the company to earn a greater share of our customers’ wallet over time."

The firm also recently launched next-day delivery and has already reached its goal of reaching 75 percent of the U.S. population, according to McMillon.

Despite lingering tensions over increased tariffs on China slated to go into effect on Sept. 1, Walmart also raised its full-year earnings outlook. The company now expects profits to increase for the full fiscal year 2019, with same-store sales expected to rise as much as 3 percent.

Trump reiterated his view that tariffs on China were good for America

"I think we're going to have a very long period of wealth and success," Trump said. "Other countries are doing very poorly. As you know, China is doing very, very poorly. The tariffs have really bitten into China, they haven't bitten into us at all."

Trump mentioned the United States has taken in close to $60 billion in tariff money, which he said the American consumer has not paid for. However, he acknowledged that may be an issue for the consumer eventually.

"The consumer has not paid for it," Trump said. "Now, at some point, they may have to pay something, but they understand that."

Trump went on to praise the American farming community for standing by him despite feeling the pinch during this ongoing trade war.

"The farmers of this country really understand it," Trump said. "They know we had to do something about China."

Trump remains hopeful his administration can make a deal with China, and he chided China for not taking the previous deal they discussed.

"We had a deal, and they decided not to make it," Trump said. "Now I think they would like to have had that opportunity again because I think they really missed a great opportunity."

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Trump said China wants to make a deal.

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