Monday, 23 April, 2018

United States stock indexes edge higher in early trading; oil down

Laurie Berry | 19 May, 2017, 19:12

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (WMT) surprised the stock market in its last reported earnings when it earned $1.3 a piece versus the consensus-estimated $1.29.

Wal-Mart's US same-store sales rose 1.4% in the first quarter - the 11th straight quarterly increase - as the retailer benefited from an increase in store foot traffic. Revenue fell 1.1 percent to $16.02 billion, but still beat analyst projections of $15.62 billion.

This year, New York-based market researcher eMarketer predicts that ecommerce will represent 9.2 percent of total retail sales in the United States, which the company expects to reach $5 trillion, a 3.5 percent increase over 2016, and that US mobile retail sales will come to $157.14 billion in 2017, up 35.5 percent over last year and accounting for 34 percent of USA ecommerce sales and 3.1 percent of total retail sales. Nonetheless, from here on out, earnings per share forecasts for the current quarter are $1.07.

Wal-Mart believes its successful quarter hinged on ongoing efforts to improve and integrate its in-store and e-commerce businesses.

The company reported fiscal first-quarter earnings of $3.04 billion. Comp-store inventory also fell 7.3% despite the 1.4% sales increase, an 8.7-point spread almost as big as the prior quarter's 9. Lore told reporters Thursday that Wal-Mart customers are placing more orders and spending more than before. Granite Investment Advisors LLC's holdings in Wal-Mart Stores were worth $14,291,000 as of its most recent SEC filing. Walmart also cited a huge increase in online assortment, fueled largely by more third-party vendors, up to 50 million items from 10 million a year ago.

"While we are pleased that our first-quarter financial performance was better than expectations, our results are not where we want them to be and we have much more work to do", Cornell told investors. Earnings per share for the quarter were 33 cents compared to 52 cents a year ago. The company has also been investing in training its in-store associates and revamping its grocery business. Its comp sales did grow slower than traffic as fewer big-ticket items sold.

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Online sales at rose 63 per cent, dramatically up from the 29 per cent growth in the previous quarter.

McMillon emphasized, "The acquisitions have received a lot of attention but our plan in e-commerce is not to buy our way to success". After buying that business in September, he put co-founder Marc Lore in charge of USA e-commerce. However, sales of those items strengthened as the quarter progressed. The acquisitions may have contributed to that growth, though, since Walmart has been listing some merchandise from its newly acquired brands on the flagship site.

Net sales at Walmart International were $27.1 billion, a decrease of 3.5%. That marked the 11th-consecutive period of positive sales in the company's home market. That helped lift overall sales 1.4 percent to $117.5 billion.

Total revenue at Walmart was $117.5 billion, an increase of 1.4%. The division was led by results from China and Mexico.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc (NYSE:WMT)'s shares are trading at $76.96 with incline of 2.42%. BofA/Merrill raised its rating on Wal-Mart Stores, Buy on 22/02/2017 in a reversal from its prior Neutral rating.

"Wal-Mart's long string of investments in labor and e-commerce, including acquisitions, are enabling modest market share gains", John Zolidis, Director Equity Research with the Buckingham Research Group told Reuters. "We remain confident in our strategy and are moving with speed to deliver value to our customers, associates and shareholders".


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