Retail giant Wal-Mart Stores Inc NYSE: WMT beat earnings estimates in the first fiscal quarter. Aggressive pricing and expansion of its online business helped attract more consumers and boost growth.
Shares of Wal-Mart were up by 2% in pre-market trade Thursday.
Comparable sales in the U.S. increased by 1.4%, marking the 11th straight quarter of growth. Analysts were estimating 1.3% growth.
“Inside the company we can see that we’re moving faster to combine our digital and physical assets to make shopping easier and more enjoyable for customers, but we can also see plenty of room to improve,” said Doug McMillon, CEO of Wal-Mart, on Thursday’s earnings call.
Wal-Mart Stores Inc NYSE: WMT Boosted by Internet Sales
E-commerce sales were up 63% compared to last quarter’s 29% growth. The majority of the sales were through Walmart.com.
Wal-Mart Stores Inc NYSE: WMT managed to increase foot traffic to its U.S. stores at a time when other retailers are struggling. Comparable sales traffic rose by 3% on a two-year stacked basis.
Revenue in the first quarter increased by 1.4% to $117.54 billion, just missing estimates of $117.74 billion in revenue.
Earnings per share beat estimates, coming in 2% higher at $1. Wal-Mart reported earnings per share of 98 cents in the same period last year. Analysts were estimating earnings per share of 96 cents.
Online gross margin values were up by 69%. The company has focused much of its efforts on boosting its e-commerce business to compete with Amazon (AMZN) and Target (TGT).
“We need to scale our e-commerce business further and see some additional strength in our store comps to deliver results we know we’re capable of – so that’s what we’re focused on,” McMillon said.
Wal-Mart’s grocery business continued to see improvements. The retailer’s food categories delivered their strongest quarterly performance in three years.
The company now expects earnings between $1 and $1.08 per share in the second quarter.