Walmart Keeping Pace With Amazon During Third Quarter

It is no easy chore trying to unseat e-commerce behemoth Amazon as the biggest online player. It might just be impossible to do, but Walmart it doing all it can to succeed.

One Wall Street analyst said Walmart will not become Amazon, but it does not need to. He added that Walmart had to make sure that it remained as a viable alternative to Amazon, saying the pie was sufficiently big to support multiple giants.

Walmart, which has challenged Amazon by adding partners, products and perks, had its online sales surge during the quarter.

The biggest retailer in the country posted an increase of 50% in online sales for the U.S. during the quarter ending October 31. The strong performance drove the stock price up for Walmart 9% in late afternoon trading on Thursday.

Walmart also outpaced most of its peers with more traffic and increased revenue.

Walmart’s CEO and president Doug McMillon said the company has momentum and said it was very encouraging to see customers respond to its store as well as e-commerce initiatives.

The moves made by the company to revamp stores and hone customer service, appears to have paid off as sales in stores in the U.S. open  a minimum of 13 months, a key measure in the industry for financial performance, increased 2.7%.

Traffic, which has dropped at several retailers as consumers shift their shopping habits, was up 1.5%.

Walmart has become one of Amazon’s key competitors, buying an online marketplace, and other niche focused sites such as Bonobos a menswear retailer, to attract more fashion-conscious affluent customers.

Walmart tripled its items available online to 70 million. Earlier in the week, it made an announcement that it is partnering with Lord & Taylor, the upscale retailer, to feature the apparel stores branded shop on its site, beginning in the spring.

Walmart is also making the most of its 4,700 stores in the U.S., but offering discounts to its customers that pick up their purchases made online, and is rolling out a scheme where online grocery shoppers can pick up orders at another 1,000 locations in 2018.

Other initiatives include launching a quicker returns process which begins with clicking on its Walmart app, and ends with a designated line at a neighborhood store. Walmart is also paying employees extra to drop off online orders when they head home, a service it could eventually expand.

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