468x60 General & Logo

Walmart gets a boost from online sales

Walmart saw online sales soar as it changed up its shipping offers, and drew more shoppers to its stores as well in the most recent quarter even as retail overall is more competitive. Though the company has been buying up smaller shopping sites, the retailer said that a majority of the increase was through Walmart.com and was fueled by changes in its shipping strategy and a discount for shoppers who pick up their online orders. Retail bankruptcies are setting a record pace this year, and store closures are expected to exceed those of 2008 after the financial crisis. Research firm RetailMetrics, which tracks results from more than 100 chains, said revenue at established stores is expected to be flat for the quarter, the worst performance since the third quarter of 2009. “Walmart is effectively competing in a tough retail environment, and given its size, scale, and leverage will be able to stay the course on the current strategy,” Stifel analyst Mark Astrachan wrote in a note. The company is still looking for startups to buy. Since Lore joined the company, the number of items available, including on its third-party online marketplace, has risen to more than 50 million. Walmart is aggressively trying to compete with Amazon’s juggernaut Prime membership, scrapping a fee-based shipping program test in favor of free, two-day shipping for online orders of its most popular items with a minimum purchase order of $35. In April, Walmart began offering discounts on thousands of online-only items when customers elect to have them shipped to a store for pickup — cheaper for the company than delivering to people’s homes.

Article by By Anne D’Innocenzio (c) Business and Technology News - Read full story here.