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Walmart beats all around, with e-commerce sales rebounding

AP  |  New York 

is reporting better-than-expected profit and revenue for the first quarter with rebounding sales.

Revenue at stores opened at least a year rose 2.1 per cent, the company said today, also surprising Wall Street.

It's an encouraging report from Walmart, which like other retailers is looking at new ways to compete in light of swiftly changing shopping habits and intense competition from

Walmart, while spending more on its workers to improve service, is building fewer big stores, and its focus is solidly online.

Since buying for more than $3 billion nearly two years ago, has buttressed its presence online, acquired brands like and ModCloth, and vastly expanded the number of goods its sells

It's also strengthening delivery to make shopping at Walmart even easier. In March, Walmart began expanding its same-day delivery service to more than 40 percent of U.S. households, or 100 metro areas by year end.

Walmart is reworking its website with a focus on fashion and home furnishings. It has teamed up with to create dedicated space on its site, which will be launched in the next few weeks.

rose 33 per cent in the first quarter, a strong showing following a disappointing 23 per cent increase in the final quarter of last year. Wall Street punished the company for the end-of-year performance, sending company shares plunging more than 10 per cent. It was the biggest single-day percentage drop in 30 years.

Still, digital sales are below the 40 percent growth that Walmart is expecting for this year.

Walmart has a long way to get even close to Amazon's

com Inc. has leveraged its membership program into intense loyalty from customers. recently raised its annual fee for membership to $119, from $99. And it's stepped into Walmart's turf, no longer content with only

After spending $14 billion to acquire last summer, Amazon announced two-hour delivery from the for its members. It also said that members will get an additional 10 percent on sale items and exclusive deals on certain groceries at Whole Food stores. Those expanded benefits go nationwide this summer.

While it fights off rivals at home, the world's largest retailer is expanding elsewhere, with new moves into and

This month, it acquired a controlling stake in Flipkart, India's largest The $16 billion deal is Walmart's biggest acquisition yet. It is selling its British unit, Asda, which has been struggling with intense competition from German no-frills discounters and Walmart posted a first-quarter profit of $2.13 billion on Thursday, or 72 cents per share.

Earnings, adjusted for non-recurring costs, were $1.14 per share, which is 2 cents better than industry analysts were expecting, according to a survey by Zacks Investment Research.

That compares with $3.04 billion, or $1 per share, in the year ago quarter The Bentonville, Arkansas, company's revenue rose 4.4 percent to $122.69 billion, beating projections for $120.08 billion.

Shares of rose almost 3 percent before the opening bell.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, May 17 2018. 17:35 IST
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