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Walmart CFO: 'Increased tariffs will lead to increased prices for our customers'

Julia La Roche

Walmart (WMT), the world’s largest retailer, said tariffs would result in higher prices for shoppers.

“We are going to continue to do everything we can to keep prices low. However, increased tariffs will lead to increased prices for our customers,” CFO Brett Biggs told reporters on a call.

In its first quarter earnings release, the retailer said it’s keeping a close eye on the volatile trade relationship between the U.S. and China.

“We’re monitoring the tariff discussions and are hopeful that an agreement can be reached,” Biggs said in a statement. “Our goal is to always be the low-price leader, and we will actively manage pricing and margins as warranted with our customers and shareholders in mind. Our merchant teams have been focused on this for months and continue to execute appropriate mitigation strategies.”

On the call with reporters, Walmart U.S. CEO Greg Foran said its merchants will use these mitigation strategies to manage costs “on an item by item basis.”

Walmart customer shops next to advertisement at Walmart in San Jose, Calif., Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2008. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)

However, Walmart management stopped short of offering additional color.

"When you start talking about something like tariffs, everything is specific to items and categories,” Biggs said adding that it’s "challenging to make broad statements."

He noted that it “would certainly lead to increased prices,” but remaining the “low price leader” is in Walmart’s “DNA.”

“We are going to do what we can. We will be balanced about it as we think about customers and shareholders,” he said.

Walmart reported its first quarter earnings results, delivering adjusted earnings per share of $1.13, surpassing Wall Street analysts’ expectations of $1.02. Revenue for the quarter came in at $123.9 billion, compared to estimates of $124.94 billion.The closely-followed comp sales number came in at 3.4%, marking the company’s best first quarter in 9 years.

Julia La Roche is a finance reporter at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter.