Look Out, Amazon, Walmart’s Online Business Is Booming

Walmart
Walmart
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Online business is soaring at Wal-Mart Stores Inc.

The largest retailer in the U.S. — which has substantially ramped up its digital efforts in recent months — released first-quarter results today that showed significant e-commerce gains as well as modest year-over-year improvements in overall sales.

E-commerce sales at Walmart skyrocketed 63 percent during the period, while gross merchandise volume rose 69 percent.

The retailer — which snapped up Jet.com in August 2016 and footwear e-tailer ShoeBuy in January 2017 in an apparent bid to go after Amazon — said the majority of its digital growth was organic through Walmart.com. (Walmart paid $70 million for ShoeBuy, $3 billion for Jet and bought brick-and-click outdoor retailer Moosejaw in February for $51 million. It also picked up the Shoes.com domain in April 2017.)

We’re moving faster to combine our digital and physical assets to make shopping simple and easy for customers,” Walmart president and CEO Doug McMillon said in a release. “Our plan is gaining traction, and I want to thank our associates for their hard work, ingenuity and commitment to our customers. Our customers have choices, and we have to earn their business with every interaction.

Walmart’s total Q1 sales advanced 1.4 percent year-over-year, to $117.5 billion. On a currency-adjusted basis, revenues rose 2.5 percent, to $118.8 billion.

Net income fell 1.3 percent, to $3 billion, or $1.00 per diluted share, but topped forecasts for earnings per diluted share of 96 cents. (Earnings per diluted share advanced 2 percent year-over-year.)

Walmart U.S. comp sales increased 1.4 percent during the period, driven by a traffic increase of 1.5 percent, according to the company. Comp traffic increased 3 percent on a two-year stacked basis.

Net sales at Walmart International were $27.1 billion, a decrease of 3.5 percent. However, excluding currency fluctuations, net sales were $28.3 billion, an increase of 0.8 percent.

Walmart’s upbeat results follow those of competitor Target Corp., which released better-than-expected first-quarter earnings Wednesday. Target reported its same-store sales fell 1.3 percent, a narrower decline than the 3.7 percent market watchers had forecast. Target’s adjusted earnings, at $1.21 a share, also outpaced analysts’ expectations for earnings of 91 cents per share. Meanwhile, revenue fell 1.1 percent, to $16 billion, which was again higher than the $15.62 billion analysts projected

As of 11 a.m. ET, Walmart shares were up more than 2 percent, to $76.82.