Financial Performance

Walmart Gets Big Sales Boost From E-Commerce

"Walmart is now a major competitive force in e-commerce and is capable of capturing shopper share from Amazon and others.”
Matthew HellerMay 16, 2019

Walmart’s brick-and-mortar stores and its online business both turned in strong quarterly sales growth as the world’s largest retailer continued spending heavily on new technology.

For the first quarter, Walmart’s U.S. same-store sales, a key retail metric, rose 3.4% while U.S. e-commerce sales rose 37%. It was the best first-quarter comp in nine years and the fourth consecutive quarter above 3%.

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Total revenue increased 1% to $123.93 billion, missing analysts’ estimates of $125.03 billion amid currency headwinds that dragged on its overseas business. Walmart earned an adjusted $1.13 per share, above estimates of $1.02 per share.

“We’re changing to enable more innovation, speed and productivity, and we’re seeing it in our results,” CEO Doug McMillon said in a news release. “We’re especially pleased with the combination of comparable sales growth from stores and e-commerce in the U.S.”

E-commerce benefited in particular from Walmart’s booming online grocery business and growth in both the home and fashion categories on in the first quarter.

“The company has been heavily investing in the key categories of home, fashion and grocery over the past several years as part of its efforts to better compete with Amazon and expand into categories where there’s still much room for online growth,” TechCrunch said.

Recent online innovations have included a redesigned Home shopping experience and a full makeover of Walmart this week announced a free next-day delivery offering in select markets, matching Amazon’s offer of free next-day shipping to Prime members.

Walmart’s e-commerce sales show the retailer is “one of the best growing mature retailers in the online market,” Neil Saunders, managing director of GlobalData Retail, wrote in a client note.

“This uplift has come from both new customers attracted by Walmart’s improved shipping speeds and existing shoppers buying more as Walmart expands its services and online offer,” Saunders said. “In our view, Walmart is now a major competitive force in e-commerce and is capable of capturing shopper share from Amazon and others.”

Walmart’s net income rose to $3.84 billion from $2.13 billion a year earlier.

Photo: Getty Images