Walmart reported e-commerce sales surged by 33% in the latest quarter and said online grocery pickup and grocery delivery services are expanding fast.

The retailer reported U.S. comparable store sales rose by 2.1% in the quarter that ended April 27.

“We’re encouraged by the progress made across the business and the continued momentum we’ve experienced, Doug McMillon, president and CEO of Walmart Inc. said in a news release. “We’ve improved our merchandising in areas like fresh food with better lighting, an expanded deli offer, and an improved bakery layout to make it easier for customers to navigate.”
McMillon said Walmart was changing to be “faster and more digital.”

Walmart said its comparable grocery sales were in the low single-digit range for the quarter ending April 27, driven by customer traffic.

“Categories like fresh foods and packaged goods were particularly strong due in part to growth in private brands,” the company said in the release.

McMillon said the company is on track to increase online grocery pickup by around 1,000 stores this year to reach more than 2,100 locations across the U.S.

“We’re also rolling out grocery delivery to about 800 stores by year-end, allowing us to cover 40% of the U.S. population with delivery,” he said. “The e-commerce food business we’ve been building is important not only because of the volume it’s driving but, strategically, it’s helping to grow the number of omni-channel customers we serve.”

In addition to grocery pickup, he said Walmart has nearly 200 automated pick up towers in stores now and that will increase to 700 stores covered by year-end.

The Arkansas-based global retailer also said: 

  • U.S. comparable store sales rose 2.1% and traffic increased 0.8% in the first quarter of fiscal year 2019 compared with a year ago. The quarter began Jan. 27 and ended April 27;
  • Sam’s Club comparable sales increased 3.8% led by comparable traffic growth of 5.6%;
  • Net sales at Walmart International were $30.3 billion, an increase of 11.7%;
  • Walmart reported e-commerce sales rose 33% in the first quarter and the company expects e-commerce sales to rise 40% for fiscal year 2019;
  • Walmart’s net sales in Canada increased 2.9% with comp sales growth of 2.6%;
  • Walmart reported net openings of two Neighborhood Markets and the remodels of 65 stores; and 
  • By late April, online grocery was offered in nearly 1,400 locations.

In news since the quarter ended, the company said on May 9 that it signed a definitive agreements to become the largest shareholder in Flipkart, an e-commerce company in India. Pending regulatory approval, Walmart will pay about $16 billion for an initial stake of approximately 77%, according to the release.

On April 30, Walmart and Sainsbury’s announced the proposed combination of these two businesses. Under the terms of the deal, the release said Walmart would receive cash and approximately 42% of the combined business.

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