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Wal-Mart Reports Good Results Driven By More Shoppers And Jump In Online Sales

Wal-Mart Reports Good Results Driven By More Shoppers And Jump In Online Sales
Driven by the fact that more customers visited the discount retailer and its e-commerce push boosted online purchases, Wal-Mart Stores Inc on Thursday reported higher-than-expected quarterly sales at established U.S. stores.
Consequently, the world’s largest retailing company saw shares going up 1.3 percent in early trade.
Benefits of enhancement of the training of its workforce that has resulted in better stocked shelves and cleaner stores and its $2.7 billion investment to increase entry-level wages are reflected in favor of the retailer by the strong results of Wal-Mart'. The company said that there had been a 1.5 percent in the quarter in its store visits.
"We got off to a slower start than expected, due in part to delayed federal tax refund checks, but saw sales strengthen throughout the quarter," Chief Financial Officer Brett Biggs said in a statement.
Shares of Wal-Mart rose to $76.10 in pre-market trade. As of Wednesday's close, the stock had risen 8.7 percent so far this year.
A string of weak results by department store retailers like Macy's Inc. were bucked by Wal-Mart's performance, along with rival Target Corp's results on Wednesday. Target set an optimistic tone for the year after it reported higher-than-expected quarterly earnings and sales on Wednesday.
Noting what was the 11th consecutive quarterly increase, excluding fuel price fluctuations, sales at U.S. stores open at least a year rose 1.4 percent, Wal-Mart said. According to Consensus Metrix, analysts were expecting a 1.3 percent increase.
Noting a higher than 29 percent growth in the fourth quarter, online sales rose 63 percent in the first quarter. Rather than from acquisitions, most of the growth was from its existing online operations, the company said. 0.8 percentage points to the first quarter comparable sales gain was added by the online sales.
Wal-Mart has been acquiring small online retail startups with the intention to accelerate its e-commerce business and narrow the widening gap with rival Inc. It is currently in talks with small online clothing retailer Bonobos and has acquired three companies so far this year.
"We need to scale our e-commerce business further and see some additional strength in our store comps to deliver the results we know we’re capable of,” said Wal-Mart Chief Executive Officer Doug McMillon.
According to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S, earnings per share exceeded the analysts' average estimate of 96 cents and clocked at $1 in the first quarter ended on April 30. But due to an increase a higher tax rate, consolidated net income fell to $3.04 billion from $3.08 billion.
Noting a slightly lower level than analysts’ expectations of $117.7 billion due to a stronger dollar. quarterly revenue rose 1.4 percent to $117.5 billion. A stronger dollar reduces the value of overseas sales. Revenue grew 2.8 percent on a currency neutral basis.
It expected an increase of 1.5 percent to 2 percent in U.S. same-store sales for the second quarter, Wal-Mart said. It forecast earnings per share of $1 to $1.08, against market expectations of $1.07.

Christopher J. Mitchell

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