business news in context, analysis with attitude

Walmart yesterday announced that in its most recent quarter, e-commerce sales were up 40 percent, which the Wall Street Journal described as “a welcome turnaround from February, when its e-commerce sales slowed to 23%.”

CNBC quotes Marc Lore, the head of Walmart's U.S. e-commerce business, as saying that “brands are now more interested in selling on, now that the website is easier for shoppers to navigate and has localized touches. Partnering with new brands takes time, Lore said, but the company is already seeing heightened traffic to certain parts of"

Walmart said that its quarterly revenue was up 3.8 percent to $128.03 billion from a year ago, on same-store sales in the U.S. that rose 4.5 percent.

In its analysis of how this affected Walmart’s share price, the Wall Street Journal writes that “the combination of a good economy and strong e-commerce sales should keep the shares aloft, at least for now. Retail stocks have been volatile as investors struggle to make sense of the sector. Just in the past two days, Walmart shares had one of their best days in a decade, Macy’s , which also had good numbers, had its third-worst day on record, and J.C. Penney , which didn’t do so well, suffered its worst fall since at least 1972 … The risk to Walmart is investors get too excited about growth. Or rising prices cut into profits despite rising sales. Walmart’s expenses, particularly its purchase of Flipkart, may weigh on the stock. But those are worries for another day.”

And CNBC writes, “Like many retailers today, Walmart is facing higher transportation costs because of rising fuel and a shortage of truck drivers in the U.S. There's also some uncertainty around the prospect of additional tariffs implemented by President Donald Trump's administration, which could result in Walmart passing on some of those price increases to consumers.”
KC's View:
Again, the evidence is that Walmart is proving to be a lot more nimble and effective in its efforts to compete with Amazon than many of us would have expected.

I was looking for a metaphor, and found that Mark Gongloff of Bloomberg beat me to the perfect one, writing that Walmart and Amazon are “the Godzilla and Mechagodzilla of retail, fighting to command whatever is left of the wreckage they leave at their feet. In that battle, Godzilla – Walmart in this tortured analogy – won the day today.”

Amazon - or Mechagodzilla - is doing just fine, the story says, but the impact of both monsters’ big feet is leaving collateral damage everywhere. “Meanwhile down in the rubble,” he writes, “J.C. Penney Co. Inc. shares fell 25 percent today to levels not seen since the 1980s after it warned it would lose money this year. Walmart and Amazon barely noticed.”

I have to find another metaphor. Alien vs. Predator, maybe?