Published: Fri, May 18, 2018
Life&Culture | By Ben Goodman

Walmart e-commerce growth rebounds

Walmart e-commerce growth rebounds

Walmart's gross margin, which has fallen for four consecutive quarters, was down 23 basis points in the quarter ended April 30.

Walmart Inc. posted earnings for the first quarter that were stronger than had been expected on Thursday and affirmed its opinion that the acquisition this month of Flipkart in India would hit the bottom line in 2018. Old Mutual Global Investors UK Ltd. now owns 2,058,798 shares of the retailer's stock worth $160,874,000 after buying an additional 1,158,519 shares during the period. E-commerce sales grew 1% year over year.

The growth of Walmart's online grocery pickups is coming at a time when Amazon.com, Inc.

Since buying Jet.com for more than $3 billion almost two years ago, Walmart has buttressed its presence online, acquired brands like Bonobos and ModCloth, and vastly expanded the number of goods its sells from its site. E-commerce sales rose 33% vs. a year earlier. The rebound in e-commerce follows a sharp slowdown which occurred over the crucial holiday quarter. "We also have new brands in e-commerce including the partnership with Lord & Taylor, so there are a lot of different things driving growth there".

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The company's chief of e-commerce, Marc Lore, told reporters the chain was on track to meet its expectations for 40 per cent growth in online sales this year. US same-store sales were up 2.1 percent beating estimates of 2 percent. That beat analysts' average projection of $1.12.

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Revenue at Walmart stores opened at least a year rose a solid 2.1 percent, the company said Thursday.

By the end of the year, Walmart expects its grocery delivery service to be able to reach 40% of the US population. While the rising gas prices may have reduced the purchasing power of some, Walmart indicated that it was still enjoying robust consumer demand.

"We are changing from within to be faster and more digital, while shaping our portfolio of businesses for the future", Walmart CEO Doug McMillon said in a statement.

Walmart, while spending more on its workers to improve service, is building fewer big stores, and its focus is solidly online. The company's US grocery business and higher branded drug prices also boosted growth. And it's stepped into Walmart's turf, no longer content with only online sales.

Walmart, which is trying to compete with online giant Amazon, saw USA comparable store sales rise 2.1 per cent and customer traffic increase 0.8 per cent, although the unseasonably cold weather hurt sales in the United States. The delayed spring also hurt demand with regards to weather-related categories.

Total revenue at Walmart increased 4.4 percent to $122.7 billion, beating analysts' estimates of $120.5 billion.

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