In this file:


         Wal-Mart's big investments put it in fighting shape for the grocery wars

         Cramer: How Wal-Mart is giving Amazon a run for its money

         Walmart Emulates Amazon to Beat It

         Wal-Mart Reports 63 Percent Rise in Online Sales



Wal-Mart's big investments put it in fighting shape for the grocery wars


         AmazonFresh, Target, Aldi and Lidl, among others, all want a larger slice of the grocery market and are trying to drive customers to shop both in stores and online.

         "Online grocery ... continues to perform well," Wal-Mart CEO Doug McMillon said Thursday.

         The big-box retailer's "Everyday Low Price" strategy has been particularly appealing to shoppers, and its free-shipping push is showing signs of paying off.


Lauren Thomas, CNBC

May 19, 2017


Competition in the supermarket business is only intensifying.


Amazon's AmazonFresh initiative is rolling out brick-and-mortar pick up locations, Target has tapped a Kroger executive to run its grocery division, and discount chains Aldi and Lidl are encroaching on U.S. market share.


Everybody wants a piece of the pie, literally.


But Wal-Mart's investments are putting the retailer in a good place, as its first-quarter results show, while it pours money into keeping its prices low and beefing up its digital operations.


Wal-Mart's grocery business saw its food categories deliver their strongest quarterly comparable sales performance in more than three years, Wal-Mart CEO Doug McMillon told analysts and investors Thursday.


"Online grocery also continues to perform well, and we're on track to scale the [grocery] offering to more stores this year in several countries, including the U.S.," McMillon went on.


By acquiring last year and bringing the website's founder, Marc Lore, on board to spearhead Wal-Mart's e-commerce division, the traditionally brick-and-mortar retailer has made clear its plans to move from bricks to clicks, as analysts say.


And Wal-Mart wants to make sure its grocery offering is particularly appealing to shoppers online. now boasts 50 million SKUs, and growing, Lore said on a call with journalists, adding that Wal-Mart is very pleased with its growing assortment of food and essentials online. This is up from 35 million items during the previous quarter.


"Looking in more detail at the various strands of Walmart's initiatives, a sharper focus on price is cutting through especially on grocery," GloablData Retail Managing Director Neil Saunders wrote in an email.


By pursuing its "Everyday Low Price" strategy, Wal-Mart is likely winning over customers who used to shop for food at dollar stores think Dollar Tree and Dollar General and mainstream grocers, Saunders said...





Cramer: How Wal-Mart is giving Amazon a run for its money


Elizabeth Gurdus, CNBC

May 18, 2017


For so long, it seemed like no company could rival e-commerce colossus Amazon, but Jim Cramer thinks one up-and-coming online competitor could give it a run for its money: Wal-Mart.


"You might think this comparison sounds crazy, even after the excellent quarter Wal-Mart just reported [on Thursday], but when you take a step back, it's pretty clear that these two companies have a lot more in common than you might expect," the "Mad Money" host said.


Before the rise of Amazon, Wal-Mart's scale and massive array of merchandise shuttered countless smaller stores because they could not compete.


"Wal-Mart was the great destroyer of retail, the great disruptor, laying waste to mom and pop stores all over the country by offering more products and undercutting them on price," Cramer explained...


more, including links, video



Walmart Emulates Amazon to Beat It


By Shelly Banjo, Bloomberg

May 18, 2017


In the cutthroat race for consumer dollars, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has pulled ahead.


Shares in the world's largest retailer rose 2 percent Thursday after it reported an eye-popping 63 percent year-over-year increase in the latest quarter in U.S. online sales, along with its eleventh straight quarter of year-over-year sales growth at established stores.


It's been a decades-long journey, but it seems Walmart is finally getting serious about e-commerce. It has also managed to rev up sales growth -- at a time when Target Corp. and other competitors seem to be sputtering along -- by focusing on two key factors: low prices and food.


And for good reason. Really, the only advantage Walmart still has over Inc. -- for now, at least -- is food. It makes up more than half of Walmart's U.S. sales; and now that the company is making online grocery ordering and in-store pick-up more widely available, food has also been driving Walmart's e-commerce sales.


But the smartest thing Walmart has done lately is aggressively slash prices, reminding consumers why they shopped at the chain in the first place. Walmart began cutting prices last year in a bid to fend off the U.S. invasion of German discounters Aldi and Lidl. Walmart's U.K. chain Asda got hammered by these companies across the pond, and Walmart has vowed to not let that happen again...


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Wal-Mart Reports 63 Percent Rise in Online Sales


New York Times

via Tampa Bay Times - May 18, 2017


Wal-Mart reported a staggering rise in online sales in the first quarter Thursday. But now the question is whether the country's largest retailer can sustain that growth to become a true competitor to the online juggernaut Amazon.


The company said e-commerce sales in the United States had grown 63 percent. That helped lift overall sales 1.4 percent to $117.5 billion.


The numbers are a sign that Wal-Mart is making headway in its fight to be as dominant online as it is across the American landscape.


Wal-Mart's strategy 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 company announced the acquisition of bulk e-commerce retailer in August, part of a plan to offer customers more products through the web.


The earnings results gave only hints of about how much the bump in sales is from the acquisitions of the last year, compared with the other changes the company has made.


Wal-Mart 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...