Walmart Stores, based in Bentonville, Arkansas is the largest retailer in the United States. On Tuesday, the company unveiled its new buyback plan of $20 billion and at the same time forecast online sales in the U.S. would increase an impressive 40% during its fiscal year that ends January 2019.
Shares of Walmart were higher by over 1.6% in trading before the opening bell after the company forecast as well that its overall net sales would increase by a minimum of 3% during the same span.
The giant retailer is locked in a market share battle with Amazon.com Inc. the e-commerce behemoth and has been busily working on its own online business and has leveraged its massive 4,700 store count to create an experience that has far fewer hassles for its myriad of online shoppers.
Walmart posted a jump of more than 60% in its sales online across the U.S. in its most recently reported quarter that ended in July.
One retail analyst on Wall Street said that it has become very clear that the intentions of Walmart are to continue turning up the heat online, with over 40% annual growth an ambitious and impressive goal.
Especially following the outlined 30% increase during the investor meeting in 2016, which at that time seemed to be overly ambitious at the time it was announced.
The larger grocery retailer in the U.S. has also said that it is expecting to add another 1,000 locations for shipping grocery orders made online during its 2019 fiscal year. Currently it ships its online orders from over 900 locations in the U.S.
Competition amongst those in the grocery industry has ratcheted up since Amazon announced the acquisition of Whole Foods and followed that with cutting prices at the grocer starting in August.
Walmart forecasted that its profit for its 2019 fiscal year would increase by approximately 4% over what was expected for its adjusted earnings of between $4.30 and $4.40 a share for its year ending January of 2018.
The company’s new repurchase program of two years replaces the buyback plan of $20 billion that was approved by in October of 2015.
Walmart announced on Monday that it would be offering return for online purchases at its customer service area in stores, trying to make the customer’s experience of shopping online as convenient as possible.