For Walmart, last year was all about beefing up its technology and logistics offerings to juice both online and in-store sales, as it continues to battle Amazon, and those efforts appear to be making an impact.
Revenue: Walmart reported $138.8 billion in revenue in the holiday quarter, up 1.9 percent over a year ago and just ahead of Wall Street expectations. For the year, Walmart saw revenue growth of 2.8 percent to $514.4 billion.
Profits: Walmart’s $3.8 billion in net profits, or $1.41 per share, beat analyst expectations of $1.33 per share.
Walmart stock is up about 3.5 percent in early morning trading.
Online retail was a bright spot for Walmart in the fourth quarter. The company has done a lot to beef up its e-commerce offerings through major acquisitions like Jet.com and Bonobos in recent years, and it paid off with U.S. online sales jumping 43 percent over a year ago.
“Progress on initiatives to accelerate growth, along with a favorable economic environment, helped us deliver strong comp sales and gain market share,” Walmart CEO Doug McMillon said in a statement. “We’re excited about the work we’re doing to reach customers in a more digitally-connected way. Our commitment to the customer is clear – we’ll be there when, where and how they want to shop and deliver new, convenient experiences that are uniquely Walmart.”
Walmart has invested heavily in integrating technology and new ways for people to buy and retrieve items as it competes with Amazon in both e-commerce and physical retail. One area of emphasis has been a rapid expansion of grocery delivery from stores and the ability to order ahead and pick up items.
At the end of this year, Walmart had grocery pickup available in more than 2,100 stores and delivery from more than 800 locations. By the end of this year, Walmart says pickup will be available in more than 3,100 stores and more than 1,600 stores will support delivery.
Among Walmart’s highlights for the year are a number of tech initiatives. The company is working with Udelv to develop custom autonomous delivery vans and it is also working with Ford on an autonomous delivery pilot program. Walmart has started training its employees in virtual reality, and it brought more than 17,000 training devices online last year.