Financial Performance

Walmart’s E-Commerce Sales Jump 60% in Q2

The retail giant has made aggressive moves to compete with Amazon and now offers online grocery in more than 900 U.S. locations.
Matthew HellerAugust 18, 2017

Walmart Stores reported better-than-expected earnings and a 12th straight quarter of same-store sales growth in the U.S. as the retail giant benefited from its aggressive moves into e-commerce.

Walmart’s online sales soared 60% in the second quarter, with much of the growth in food. The company now offers online grocery in more than 900 U.S. locations and food sales as a whole make up more than half of its revenue.

CFO Brett Biggs told CNBC that Walmart is pleased with what it’s been doing in the food business, and “online grocery continues to grow rapidly.”

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“One of the particular areas of success for Walmart is grocery,” GlobalData Retail Managing Director Neil Saunders wrote in a note to clients. “Our data show continued gains in customer share, even in areas where discounters like Aldi have expanded.”

Walmart’s e-commerce moves have included the acquisition last year of Jet for $3.3 billion, and since then it has picked up smaller players including ModCloth and Moosejaw, making it the second-largest online retailer behind Amazon.

“Our customers are responding to the improvements in stores and online, and our results reflect this,” CEO Doug McMillon said in a news release. “Traffic increases at store level and the e-commerce growth rate are key highlights.”

For the second quarter, Walmart posted adjusted earnings of $1.08 a share on revenue of $123.36 billion. Analysts had predicted it would earn $1.07 per share on revenue of $122.84 billion.

Comparable sales for U.S. stores, excluding fuel, climbed 1.7%, matching expectations. The increase reflected growth of 1.2% at Sam’s Club, and an increase of 1.8% at Wal-Mart stores.

CNBC said one weakness for Wal-Mart in the second quarter was that profit margins fell slightly due to more aggressive promotions. Consolidated net income declined to $2.9 billion, or 96 cents per share, in the three months ending July 31, down from $3.77 billion, or $1.21 per share, in the same period a year ago.

“The retailer has been investing heavily to keep its prices competitive, defending market share from Amazon, among other rivals,” CNBC said.