Video: Walmart is using aisle-roaming robots to keep its shelves stocked
Walmart delivered another blockbuster quarter fueled by strong online sales growth and an uptick in its food business. The Arkansas-based company said e-commerce sales surged 50 percent in the fiscal third quarter, while same-store sales were up 2.7 percent.
The world's largest retailer has been pursuing a digitally focused growth strategy for the last year, which includes an aggressive push into online grocery and increased capital spending on digital supply chain capabilities and in-store technology.
Walmart chief executive Doug McMillon noted that a series of strategic initiatives paid off last quarter, including expanded online grocery pickup, and the launch of mobile express returns. McMillon also highlighted the company's use of aisle-roaming robots to improve out-of-stock issues and price discrepancies in its stores.
McMillon said Walmart's food business posted its strongest performance in quarterly comp sales in almost six years.
"Our associates are using technology and apps for inventory management and price changes that help make their jobs easier and increase productivity in the stores," he said during a pre-recorded earnings call. "Store leverage is helping to allow our strategic investments in e-commerce to continue."
"Existing customers have become advocates for popular initiatives like online grocery and free two day shipping, and as a result, new customers, suppliers and partnerships are coming to Walmart."
As for the numbers, Walmart reported net income of $1.75 billion, or 58 cents a share. Revenue climbed 4.2 percent to $123.18 billion with non-GAAP earnings of $1 a share. Analysts expected revenue of $121 billion and earnings of 97 cents a share. Shares of Walmart were up nearly 9 percent in early trading.
Looking to the full year, Walmart is expected non-GAAP earnings per share ranging from $4.38 to $4.46, up from its previous forecast for $4.30 to $4.40 a share Wall Street is expecting $4.38 a share on revenue of $496 billion.
"We expect top line growth going forward to be led more by comp sales and e-commerce with less emphasis on new units in the U.S.," Walmart CFO Brett Biggs said on the earnings call. "We're prioritizing e-commerce, technology, supply chain and store remodels over new stores and clubs."
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