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Sales growth

Thursday, October 12, 2017

WAL-MART Stores Inc on Tuesday forecast a 40 per cent rise in US online sales next year as it ramps up competition with Inc, boosting shares of world's biggest brick-and-mortar retailer to the highest in more than two years.

Wal-Mart also forecast overall net sales would rise by at least 3 per cent in the year ending January 2019, and said it would buy back $US20 billion ($F40b) of its shares over the next two years.

Wal-Mart shares rose 4.5 per cent to close at $US84.13 ($F172), the top driver of gains in the Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI and S&P 500 index .SPX.

"We are going to lean into places like technology, e-commerce, international stores," Wal-Mart chief financial officer Brett Biggs said at the Bentonville, Arkansas company's annual investor meeting which was webcast.

Wal-Mart, which is battling Amazon for market share, has been investing in its online business and letting customers pick up online orders at its 4700-plus stores.

The company has already started offering free two-day shipping and said on Tuesday it planned to roughly double the locations for shipping online grocery orders. On Monday, it said it would speed up the process for in-store returns of items bought on its website.

Wal-Mart, which expects online sales to hit about $US11.5b ($F23b) for the fiscal year ending January 2018, did not break out US e-commerce sales last year. It reported growth of about 62 per cent for the first half of fiscal 2018, up from 12 per cent in the year-ago period.

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