Walmart's online sales soar 63 percent in Q1

He added Wal-Mart made a few strategic acquisitions to further improve its product assortments.

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (WMT) now has P/E (Price to Earnings) ratio of 17.13 while the company's industry has 42.56 P/E and the sector P/E is 41.26. Online sales rose 22 percent.

Earnings per share is the portion of a company's profit allocated to each outstanding share of common stock.

Wal-Mart's performance, along with rival Target Corp's results on Wednesday, bucked a string of weak results by department store retailers like Macy's Inc. Even off-price retailer TJX Cos., which has done better than many as customers hunt for bargains, missed forecasts for that sales measure.

Retails bankruptcies are setting a record pace this year, and store closures are expected to exceed those of 2008 after the financial crisis.

Wal-Mart had reported that majority of its internet sales growth came from existing online operations.

Wal-Mart is also launching an incubator lab focused on projects in robotics, virtual and augmented reality, and artificial intelligence. It has retooled how it operates online and accelerated that shift by buying already successful online operators. Operating income was $5.24 billion versus $5.28 billion in the period a year before, with higher operating, selling and general and administrative expenses weighing in the period year over year as the company continues investment in technology and labor. With Jet.com founder Marc Lore installed as head of Walmart.com, it bought ShoeBuy.com, outdoor gear seller Moosejaw and trendy clothing seller ModCloth. This also represented 10 million more than the year-ago period. Wal-Mart is working to accelerate the integration between Wal-Mart.com and Jet.com, and trying to take advantage of its scale in areas like shipping.

"We're transforming to become more of a digital enterprise", McMillon said. "We remain confident in our strategy and are moving with speed to deliver value to our customers, associates and shareholders".

Target had quietly raised its free shipping threshold to $35 from $25 this month, going in the opposite direction of Wal-Mart and Amazon.

The Amazon Prime program costs $99 a year, but comes with services like streaming music and video. Energy companies also moved higher as the price of crude oil rose.

To accelerate its e-commerce business, Wal-Mart has been acquiring small online retail startups.

Wal-Mart is aggressively pursuing deals for online stores. Traffic and sales are solid at stores as a renewed emphasis on low prices has lured shoppers back. In the company's Q4, ecommerce accounted for 2.9 percent of its total revenue. Same-store sales increased 1.4 percent and digital sales increased 63 percent. Grocery is a key category because it drives shoppers frequently to the store and they are then likely to pick up other items.

The global business division reported net sales of $27.1 billion in the first quarter, a decrease of 3.5 percent. Shares fell 10% following the announcement.

Stocks are modestly higher in early trading on Wall Street as traders were relieved to see some positive results from retailers.

Without taking fuel price volatility into consideration, Walmart U.S. comps gained 1.4%, driven by a traffic increase of 1.5%.

Analysts expect Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (NYSE: BABA) to report quarterly earnings at $0.66 per share on revenue of $5.21 billion before the opening bell. The average estimate of 14 analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research was for earnings of 96 cents per share.

  • Zachary Reyes