In-store, online investments driving 4Q comp growth at Walmart

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In-store, online investments driving 4Q comp growth at Walmart

By Michael Johnsen - 02/21/2017

BENTONVILLE, Ark.— Walmart stock was trading higher 3.1% by more than $2 per share to $71.50 in early afternoon trading following the greatest quarterly increase in same-store sales since July 2012. According to the company, Walmart U.S. comp sales increased 1.8%, driven by a traffic increase of 1.4%. Neighborhood Market comps increased approximately 5.3%.

"We're moving with speed to become more of a digital enterprise and better serve customers," stated Doug McMillon, president and CEO Wal-Mart Stores. In addition to very positive comp sales growth, Walmart recorded e-commerce gross merchandise volume growth of 36.1%, including and online grocery. "We have more work to do, but I'm pleased with our progress."

Walmart now boasts more than 35 million SKUs online and recently announced free two-day shipping with a minimum $35 order. "I'm really pleased by how Greg Foran and his team are working in tandem with Marc Lore and his team to deliver the convenient shopping our customers desire, no matter how they choose to shop," McMillon said. "While e-commerce is growing rapidly – customers continue to rely on brick and mortar formats. The Supercenter remains the best retail format in the world, and going forward we will continue to leverage these unique assets, even more with initiatives like online grocery [and] in-store pickup."

Walmart also is delivering sharper prices and a better customer experience, McMillon noted. "In addition to increased wages, we’ve deployed more sophisticated tools to assist our associates to meet the needs of customers," McMillon said. "New technology and apps are providing real-time information to improve our in-stock levels and better manage inventory, which is down 7% this quarter versus last year on a comp-store basis."

Walmart's associate training investment — Walmart has committed to training more than 225,000 store-level retail managers this fall — is also paying off, McMillion added. "These initiatives are paying off for our customers through cleaner stores, friendlier service and faster check-out times," he said. "We've also been investing in price and customers are responding."

Total revenue for the quarter ended Jan. 27 totaled $130.9 billion, an increase of 1%.

Net sales at Sam's Club totaled $15 billion, up 3%. Comparable sales excluding fuel were up 2.4% across Sam's Club network, while traffic counts were up 1.2%.