Walmart Reports 63% Rise in Online Sales

Walmart’s latest strategy, put in place by its current chief executive, Doug McMillon, has several parts: expand the number of products available online, better leverage its huge physical warehouses and distribution centers to reach customers quickly across the country, and aggressively pursue deals for online stores.

The biggest of those deals, in which Walmart paid $3.3 billion for the bulk e-commerce retailer Jet.com last year, was part of the plan to offer customers more products through the web.

The earnings results on Thursday gave only hints of about how much the acquisitions gave the company a one-time bump in sales, rather than long-lasting fruit from other changes the company has made. Overall sales rose 1.4 percent, to $117.5 billion, in the latest quarter compared with a year ago.

Walmart executives said that the “majority” of the company’s online growth was organic — meaning not from the companies it had bought — but did not break out specific numbers. And while they were hesitant to declare that such growth was the new normal, they credited an expanded online assortment for helping to lure more repeat customers willing to open their wallets a little wider.

Walmart said it now offers 50 million items through its website, up from 35 million in the last quarter and 10 million from the same time last year.

Photo

A warehouse for Jet.com in Swedesboro, N.J. Walmart’s purchase of Jet last year was part of its plan to offer customers more products through the web.

Credit
Cole Wilson for The New York Times

Comparable-store sales, one measure of growth that looks at stores that have been open for at least a year, rose 1.4 percent. That number includes Walmart’s core online business, but not items sold through Jet.com.

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