Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NASDAQ:WMT) Expected To Report Earnings On Thursday

Walmart showed its muscle in the first quarter, reporting a big jump in online sales, an increase in traffic at its USA stores, and earnings that beat the Street.

In the first quarter, as the company continued its streak of comparable sales gains, Walmart recorded net income of $3.04 billion, down from $3.08 billion in the year-prior quarter, although earnings per diluted share increased to $1 versus 98 cents year over year.

Wal-Mart said US same-store sales rose by 1.4 percent, with USA e-commerce sales up 63 percent.

But the initiative has produced gains in comparable store sales in the United States, a closely-watched benchmark that rose 1.4 per cent in the first quarter.

"We delivered a solid first quarter and we're encouraged by the start of the year", said CEO Doug McMillon.

Even as it goes after Amazon online, Wal-Mart is shoring up its stores, working to make customer service friendlier and faster. "In addition, given the current retail landscape, with many retailers experiencing challenges across multiple categories, we believe Walmart will continue to turn up the competitive heat by utilizing its scale and technological advantages to extract increased market share".

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The deals have helped burnish Wal-Mart's online image, though the majority of e-commerce growth came from its longstanding Walmart.com site last quarter.

Stocks are modestly higher in early trading on Wall Street as traders were relieved to see some positive results from retailers. "Our plan is gaining traction ..."

In terms of earnings per share, 28 analysts have a 1.07 EPS mean target for the quarter ending Jul-17, for the quarter ending Oct-17, 28 analysts have a 0.97 EPS mean target and for the quarter ending Oct-17 there are 32 estimates of 4.32 EPS.

E-commerce sales for Walmart were much higher surging 63% during the quarter, which reflected the efforts by Walmart to expand its online footprint. The FTSE 100 index of leading British shares was down 0.9 percent.

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Wal-Mart, like other traditional retailers, has played catch-up to Amazon.com and other online companies. (WMT) stands at 1.7 while the industry's and the sector's growth for next 5 years ticked at 8.9 and 10.81 respectively.

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As of Wednesday's close, shares of Wal-Mart have climbed almost 19 percent over the past 12 months and are up about 9 percent for the year-to-date period.

Wal-Mart and analysts said the company is benefiting from a $2.7 billion investment to increase entry-level wages and enhance the training of its workforce, which has led to better stocked shelves and cleaner stores.

In the fourth quarter, Wal-Mart's e-commerce growth was 29.0 percent while gross merchandise value jumped 36.1 percent. "The acquisitions are helping us speed some things up".

But revenue fell 1.1%, to $16.02 billion, and same-store sales were down 1.3%.

Commenting at the announcement of Wal-Mart's earnings on Thursday, group chief financial officer Brett Biggs said when normalising for the effects of the leap year in 2016 and a later Easter in 2017, Asda was showing sequential improvement in the underlying business, including customer traffic and ticket. Energy companies also rose as the price of crude oil headed higher.

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