retail news in context, analysis with attitude

CNBC this morning reports that Walmart reported fourth quarter e-commerce sales that were up 29 percent, and US same-store sales that were up 1.8 percent, for a fiscal period that analysts said were the company's best in four years.

The story notes that "in a bid to better compete against Amazon, Wal-Mart has snapped up three online retailers over the past five months for a combined $3.12 billion. The largest of those acquisitions was its $3 billion purchase of Jet.com, which brought Jet Chief Marc Lore on board and led to a reshuffling of Wal-Mart's digital business."

"We continue to invest in e-commerce to accelerate growth," CEO Doug McMillon said in prepared remarks. "We're gaining traction and moving faster."

CNBC also reports that "even as the company reported its 10th straight quarter of comparable sales growth, revenue fell short of expectations as foreign exchange rates and food deflation weighed on its top line." Q4 sales were one precent higher, to $130.94 billion from $129.67 billion a year ago."
KC's View:
Walmart will rightly see these numbers as reflective of a strategy that is working, and that, I suspect, will mean that it will double down and get even more aggressive.

I think we can look for Walmart to invest in delivery depots in a lot of its US parking lots, which will allow it to address so-called "last mile" questions. And I think it'll look for ways to compete with Amazon's subscription/replenishment services.

As I say in another commentary this morning, the stakes are being raised and we're going to see tighter and more aggressive competition, not just between Walmart and Amazon, but also among anybody who wants to play in this space.