US stock indexes edge higher in afternoon trading; oil down

US stock indexes edge higher in afternoon trading; oil down

Wal-Mart saw online sales surge as it changed up its shipping offers, and drew more shoppers to its stores as well in the most recent quarter even as retail overall is more competitive. In comparison, Amazon's online retail revenue topped $90 billion in 2016, when the e-commerce titan took 43% of all U.S. e-commerce sales, according to research firm Slice Intelligence.

Earnings per share came to $1 in the first quarter ended on April 30, exceeding the analysts' average estimate of 96 cents, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. Asset Planning Services Ltd. now owns 1,511 shares of the retailer's stock worth $109,000 after buying an additional 11 shares during the last quarter. While general merchandise sales fell during the first quarter largely because of delays in tax-refund checks, Wal-Mart reported improved grocery sales.

WALL STREET: The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 8.69 points, or 0.4 percent, to 2,365.72. Traffic and sales are booming at stores as a renewed emphasis on low prices has lured shoppers back.

"We're seeing that customers are placing more orders, they're coming back more often and they're spending more", said Lore, the company's USA e-commerce chief. Excluding Wal-Mart's results, there would be a 0.8 per cent decline. That's up 10 million from a year ago.

The results signal that Wal-Mart is getting a payoff from an ambitious online expansion, which included last year's $3.3 billion acquisition of Inc. Morgan Stanley set a $77.00 price target on shares of Wal-Mart Stores and gave the company a "neutral" rating in a research report on Monday.

That was fueled by customer traffic increase of 1.5 percent.

The company will also use stores as local distribution hubs - using the backroom storage areas to also house goods bought online directly to homes, or held there to be picked up by shoppers.

On Thursday US time, the company said e-commerce sales had grown 63 per cent in the United States in the latest quarter.

Target is now using about 1,000 stores for direct shipping in a bid to match Amazon's free, two-day delivery available to its Prime customers.

"Greg Foran, Marc Lore and the team continue to partner closely to serve our customers and figure out how to invent a seamless shopping experience for our customers across our apps, sites and stores", said Walmart Stores President and CEO Doug McMillon in an earnings call. That marked its eleventh consecutive quarter of growth on this measure. At least at this pace, Walmart could get to a fifth Amazon's size this year in US e-commerce, up from a sixth last year.

McMillon said that while the acquisitions have garnered lots of attention, "the plan in e-commerce is not to buy our way to success". This is up from 35 million items during the previous quarter. The company had revenue of $116.53 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $117.01 billion.

Net sales at Walmart International were $27.1 billion, a decrease of 3.5%. The division was led by results from China and Mexico. On average, analysts anticipate that Wal-Mart Stores will post $4.33 earnings per share for the current year.

Wal-Mart returned $3.7 billion to shareholders through dividends and share buybacks in the quarter. Director of Equity Research at Buckingham Research Group, John Zolidis said, "Wal-Mart's long string of investments in labor and e-commerce, including acquisitions, are enabling modest market share gains". "We remain confident in our strategy and are moving with speed to deliver value to our customers, associates and shareholders".