Walmart's Online Sales Come Under Pressure

To further goose Walmart sales, marketing for Jet will decrease in order to focus on Walmart.com, since the company found that it's cheaper to acquire new customers for Walmart than Jet. It's been widely reported that 90% of Americans live within a 15 minute drive of a Walmart store.

The mixed results reflect Walmart's battle to transform itself. Foot traffic at its USA stores was up 1.6% last quarter, and the average purchase size grew 1.0%.

For the year ahead, the retailer expects a similar ballooning of online sales as last year, as the company, in O'Shea's words, "keeps the online pedal to the metal in 2018".

Walmart U.S. comp sales increased 2.6%, and comp traffic increased 1.6%.

Net sales at Walmart International were $33.1 billion, an increase of 6.7%. It has teamed up with Lord & Taylor to create dedicated space on its site.

Walmart Stock Plunges have investors anxious. Walmart Inc. Although some evidence of that investment materialized in the fourth quarter of the previous year, it reached full speed in the first quarter of last year when online sales grew 63% year-over-year. The S&P 500 lost 11.56 points, or 0.423099 percent, to 2,720.66. That was short of analysts' average projection of $1.37. The lion's share of the Dow's 136-point drop, or 0.5%, at 25,057, was tied to Walmart.

The spark for those declines was a rise in US bond yields.

Many shoppers today "do not associate Walmart with online or they default to Amazon", Saunders said. Overall, we finished the year with e-commerce sales growth of more than 40%. The yield on the 10-year Treasury held at 2.88. "Whereas Walmart will be the broad-based, big part of the business and growing it will be a priority". This was the company's worst single-day stock performance since January 8, 1988.

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Walmart delivered a disappointing annual profit forecast as its once-torrid e-commerce sales growth begins to decelerate and the USA tax overhaul provides less of a windfall than expected.

Other grocery retailers also headed south, with Target, off 3% and Kroger down 4.2%. Still, same-store sales in the United States were up 2.6% versus expectations of 2.2%.

Both companies have deep pockets and well-known brands. That was down from $13.6 billion, or $4.38 in diluted earnings per share. The stock fell $5.16 to $94.67.

The shares fell 2.7% to $102 in premarket trading. Customer counts rose 1.6 percent.

Traders also welcomed news that grocery store operator Albertsons agreed to buy more than 2,500 Rite Aid stores. The deal will double the amount of drugstores it owns.

Rite Aid is in the process of handing over almost 2,000 stores to Walgreens as part of a $4.4 billion deal. Brent crude, used to price global oils, shed 42 cents to close at $65.25 a barrel. The euro weakened to $1.2336 from $1.2408.

Most Asian markets ended the day with losses.

Germany's DAX gained 0.83 per cent to 12,487.90. Britain's FTSE 100 was flat. The Nikkei in Tokyo dropped 1%.

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