US stock indexes edge higher in afternoon trading; oil down

Chief of US e-commerce, Marc Lore had told reporters that online sales growth increased as the company offered free two-day shipping without membership fees that included higher repeat orders.

Walmart Stores profit was down 1.3% during its fiscal year first quarter, but a surge in e-commerce and strong sales in the US showed how the retailer continues to attract consumers during a challenging time in the industry.

The chain's USA same-store sales grew for the 11th consecutive quarter, rising 1.4% in the period ended April 30, just beating analysts' estimates.

Net sales at Walmart International were $27.1 billion, a decrease of 3.5%. Growth in the business has been picking up after Wal-Mart said in October it would slow down new store openings to focus on expanding its e-commerce business. That was better than the $15.62 billion analysts were expecting.

Quarterly revenue rose 1.4 percent to $117.5 billion, slightly lower than analysts expectations of $117.7 billion due to a stronger dollar, which reduces the value of overseas sales.

The results surpassed Wall Street expectations. We are particularly pleased that Walmart is using discounting to encourage online shoppers to use more economical store pickup rather than delivery.

The company's stable sales are a marked contrast with many department-store retailers and competitors including Target Corp., which reported lower sales Wednesday.

As of Wednesday's close, shares of Wal-Mart have climbed almost 19 percent over the past 12 months and are up about 9 percent for the year-to-date period.

Online business is soaring at Wal-Mart Stores Inc.

Walmart's online sales grew at a faster pace in the fourth quarter than Amazon's. The New Zealander also is beefing up the retailer's store-brand and services business to provide a buffer against both Amazon and German discounter Aldi. "E-commerce is way ahead of where it was this time previous year just in the short eight or nine months he's been running it".

AT&T and Verizon each rose 1.3 percent Thursday.

"Wal-Mart is effectively competing in a tough retail environment, and given its size, scale, and leverage will be able to stay the course on the current strategy", Stifel analyst Mark S. Astrachan wrote in a note.

Wal-Mart saw online sales surge as it changed up its shipping offers, and drew more shoppers to its stores as well in the most recent quarter even as retail overall is more competitive.

"We're transforming to become more of a digital enterprise", said Walmart CEO Doug McMillon in a call for investors.

Orders of $35 per more qualify for free two-day shipping.

United States same-store sales, which includes the company's brick-and-mortar stores rose 1.4%, which was slightly ahead of expectations for 1.3% growth.

Wal-Mart is also relying more on automation, reducing labor costs.

In terms of earnings per share, 28 analysts have a 1.07 EPS mean target for the quarter ending Jul-17, for the quarter ending Oct-17, 28 analysts have a 0.97 EPS mean target and for the quarter ending Oct-17 there are 32 estimates of 4.32 EPS.

Wal-Mart reported first-quarter profit of $3.04 billion.

The highest price WMT stock touched in the last 12 month was $76.78 and the lowest price it hit in the same period was $60.99.

  • Zachary Reyes