Walmart's United States e-commerce growth rebounds, shares rise

Lloyd Doyle
May 17, 2018

America's largest brick-and-mortar retailer said e-commerce sales surged by 33% compared with the same period past year.

Walmart's e-commerce sales grew 33% during the first quarter ended April 30, above the 23% growth in the previous three months.

The rebound in e-commerce sales comes after a sharp slowdown during the crucial holiday quarter, which sent its shares down over 10 percent and wiped out $31 billion from its market capitalization. Still, Walmart generates most of its profits and sales in the USA, and its heavy spending to lower prices and expand its online business have investors concerned about the price it's paying to keep up with Inc.

"Online grocery continued to accelerate and we also have new brands in e-commerce including the partnership with Lord and Taylor, so there are a lot of different things driving growth there", Chief Financial Officer Brett Biggs said in an interview.

Walmart has been busy beefing up its e-commerce in the a year ago, snapping up online brands like Bonobos and Modcloth, recently overhauling its web site, and adding brands like HBC's (hbc) Lord & Taylor, while equipping hundreds more of its stores to handle curbside grocery pickup for online orders, and adding many more features to its shopping app.

Chief executive officer Doug McMillon is overhauling the retailer's global footprint, stepping back from the United Kingdom after two decades and spending $16 billion to acquire a controlling stake in India's biggest e-commerce site. In late April it said it would sell most of its British grocery chain Asda to Sainsbury.

Walmart's adjusted earnings amounted to $1.14 a share last quarter. That beat analysts' average projection of $1.12.

Sales at United States stores open at least a year rose 2.1% excluding fuel, in line with analyst forecasts, according to Consensus Metrix.

Walmart has recorded almost four years of USA growth in a row - a feat unmatched by any other retailer.

Total revenue, including its Sam's Club and Walmart International units, came in at $122.69 billion, above the $120.51 billion forecast.

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