Walmart Fights Amazon Tooth And Nail, Sees Spike In Online Sales
U.S. retail sales slumped in December, but Walmart wasn't part of the drop. The company reported strong sale gains during its fourth fiscal quarter, which included the holiday season. Most notable was a large year-over-year spike in e-commerce sales, as it ramps up its yearslong efforts to compete with Amazon.
E-commerce sales were up a whopping 43% from Q3 for Walmart, Walmart President and CEO Doug McMillon said during the company's earnings call Tuesday. Comparable-store sales grew 4.2%, and McMillon said the retail giant gained market share in key categories, including groceries and toys.
For the year, Walmart achieved e-commerce sales growth of 40%.
"We experienced a favorable economic environment for much of the year," McMillon said. "I am particularly encouraged by our sales results in the [fourth] quarter."
Going omnichannel has been a major focus for the company. McMillon said Walmart customers expect the company to bring its stores and its e-commerce operations into closer coordination, in a digitally connected way.
"More customers can now access our brand through multiple channels, and it's important to engage them," McMillon said.
"We've learned that customers who shop with us both in store and online spend about twice as much in total, and they spend more in our stores."
One change involved investing in new products — such as celebrity-inspired apparel — for Walmart's website, the better to compete with Amazon, CNBC reports.
Walmart has also been beefing up its online brands through acquisitions, such as of Art.com, lingerie retailer Bare Necessities and Jet.com, which will help it break into the New York City market to a greater extent.
To improve convenience for its customers, Walmart now offers grocery pickup at more than 2,100 locations and grocery delivery at more than 800 locations, according to McMillon.