Wal-Mart's online sales surge, tops 1Q expectations

19 Mai, 2017, 19:16 | Author: Marc Bacque

Wal-Mart Stores Inc.'s profits declined 1.3 percent during the first quarter of its fiscal year, but an e-commerce surge and strong sales across its US stores showed the company continues to attract shoppers during a challenging time for other retailers.

Wal-Mart's US same-store sales rose 1.4% for the fiscal first quarter - the 11th straight quarterly increase - due to a 1.5% rise in foot traffic, thanks in part to improvements Wal-Mart has made in its stores. The firm had revenue of $116.53 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $117.01 billion. Consolidated net income fell to $3.04 billion from $3.08 billion due to an increase in the tax rate. Brent crude, used to price worldwide oils, climbed 34 cents, or 0.7 percent, at $52.55 a barrel in London. "So overall we're making progress in providing the seamless shopping experience our customers desire and we will keep moving along this journey".

The company will be reporting its first-quarter results on Thursday.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 10 points, or 0.5 percent, to 2,367 as of 3:30 p.m. Also, the current price highlights a discount of 199.26% to analysts' high consensus price target.

"There's more product to buy, you're able to get the product quicker", Mr Lore said on a conference call with reporters.

Wal-Mart recently rolled out an "Easy Reorder" feature that makes it simple for shoppers to restock foods like Kraft Mac & Cheese and General Mills' Honey Nut Cheerios, or other items they would buy frequently. Walmart also cited a huge increase in online assortment, fueled largely by more third-party vendors, up to 50 million items from 10 million a year ago. Morgan Stanley set a $77.00 price target on shares of Wal-Mart Stores and gave the company a "neutral" rating in a research report on Monday. The New Zealander also is beefing up the retailer's store-brand and services business to provide a buffer against both Amazon and German discounter Aldi. Traffic and sales are solid at stores as a renewed emphasis on low prices has lured shoppers back. The FTSE 100 index of leading British shares was down 0.9 percent.

He's replaced the clunky handheld bar-code scanners used by employees since 1984, opened training facilities for 200,000 workers, and freed store managers from the backroom to spend more time on the sales floor. Growth was 29 percent in the fourth quarter.

E-commerce sales in the quarter improved 63%, and contributed approximately 80 basis points to Walmart's Q1 comp figure.

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McMillon said that while the acquisitions have garnered lots of attention, "the plan in e-commerce is not to buy our way to success".

He still sees plenty of room for improvement despite the first-quarter progress.

Total revenue was $117.5 billion, an increase of 1.4%.

"Working capital initiatives continue to bear fruit, with year-over inventories down over $1 billion and payables up nearly $3.5 billion, and we also note debt balances are down over $3.5 billion year-over-year, which provides Walmart with additional financial flexibility as it continues with its multi-year investment program", continued O'Shea.

Though grocery sales rose, shoppers bought fewer general merchandise items in the beginning of the quarter like apparel and bikes, the company said. The division was led by results from China and Mexico.

While the good pieces of news sent shares up more than 2 percent in midday trading Wednesday, CEO Brian Cornell still needs to find a way for Target to thrive in the face of intense pressure from Amazon and Wal-Mart.

Wal-Mart is raising its guidance for the second quarter. "The acquisitions are helping us speed some things up".

Wal-Mart shares hit a 52-week high on Thursday, following the retailer's quarterly financial report.



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