Wal-Mart Tops Sales Expectations, Sending Stock Soaring

Walmart
Walmart
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Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the world’s largest retailer, posted its 10th consecutive quarter of rising comparable sales gains in the U.S., thanks in large part to its beefed-up online efforts.

The company said same-store sales rose 1.8 percent during the fourth quarter, topping Wall Street expectations. For the three-month period, Wal-Mart today announced revenue rose 3 percent, on a constant currency basis, to $133.6 billion. (Reported revenues gained 1 percent, to $130.9 billion.)

But it was the Bentonville, Ark.-based company’s e-commerce growth that showed how the brick-and-mortar giant has been taking steps to catch retail rival Amazon.com.

In particular, e-commerce sales at Wal-Mart U.S. surged 29 percent, reflecting that its $3.3 billion purchase last year of Jet.com is starting to pay off.

“We’re moving with speed to become more of a digital enterprise and better serve customers,” Doug McMillon, president and CEO of Wal-Mart Stores, said in a statement. “We had a very solid fourth quarter.”

The giant discount retailer bet big earlier in January, when its new digital arm snapped up online footwear, clothing and accessories retailer ShoeBuy.com for $70 million.

A month later, Wal-Mart ventured further into the digital space by adding online outdoor seller Moosejaw to its portfolio for $51 million.

Investors responded well to the earnings report, sending share prices up 3.8 percent, to $72.06, in early morning trading.