Wal-Mart's first-quarter comparable sales beat estimates

Posted May 20, 2017

Shares of Wal-Mart's stock were climbing around 1 percent during premarket trading following this news.

Phone companies also rose. Analysts have placed a $74.9 price target on Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., suggesting a -3.4% decline from recent close.

Wal-Mart is now launching an incubator lab focused on projects in robotics, virtual and augmented reality, and artificial intelligence in its battle with Amazon for customers The so-called Store No. 8 will be located in Silicon Valley.

Wal-Mart on Thursday reported first-quarter earnings that beat the Street view, although sales missed. Wal-Mart had warned in 2015 that stepped-up investments in stores and in its employees would hurt profits.

The company generated $5.4 billion in operating cash flow and returned $3.7 billion to shareholders through dividends and share repurchases.

Walmart has acquired several online retail startups in the past year, including the unicorn Jet.com and specialty retailers Moosejaw, ModCloth and ShoeBuy.

But investors clearly liked what they heard from Walmart.

"Walmart.com now has 50 million first and third party items to choose from compared to 10 million at this time last year-so our assortment continues to ramp", McMillon noted.

Wal-Mart said it now offers 50 million items through its website, up from 35 million in the last quarter and 10 million from the same time previous year.

Wal-Mart's e-commerce division includes all web-initiated transactions, including those through Walmart.com such as ship-to-home, ship-to-store, pick up today, and online grocery, as well as transactions through Jet.com.

McMillon said that while the acquisitions have garnered lots of attention, "the plan in e-commerce is not to buy our way to success". The majority of our growth is and will be organic. "We remain confident in our strategy and are moving with speed to deliver value to our customers, associates and shareholders".

Adopting free two-day shipping on minimum orders of $35 without an Amazon Prime-like annual fee appears to be a victor.

Wal-Mart also reported higher sales over the winter holiday season.

The Amazon Prime program costs $99 a year, but comes with services like streaming music and video. Lidl is known for low prices and its emphasis on store brands. Some of the price differentials between those retailers and Wal-Mart have also been overblown, according to the note.

Even as it goes after Amazon online, it's shoring up its advantage in stores.

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

Wal-Mart said sales at USA stores open at least a year rose 1.4%, excluding fuel price fluctuations, and was the 11th consecutive quarterly increase. (WMT) reported Thursday lower net profit in its first quarter with weak global segment results.

For the quarter ended April 29, Target earned $681 million or $1.23 per share.

Walmart's upbeat results came after disappointing earnings reports from JCPenney, Macy's, and Nordstrom and against a backdrop of overall distress in the retail industry marked by sliding sales and traffic. Revenues were up 1.4 per cent at US$117.5 billion. (NYSE:HLTH), its shares were trading at $1.35 a gain of $0.05, on the trading floor. Gap shares gained 1.06 percent to $23.80 in after-hours trading.