Walmart’s $3.3 billion acquisition of Jet.com in August 2016 has certainly done its share to bolster the brand’s e-Commerce presence. The retail giant increased its online sales for the third quarter in a row with a 29% year-over-year uptick in Q4.
Before the Jet.com acquisition, Walmart’s e-Commerce sales growth had declined in five straight quarters, falling to just 7% in Q1 2016. But Walmart has steadily increased its e-Commerce investments in recent years to better compete with Amazon, spending more than $900 million in 2016 with plans to spend $1.1 billion this year.
Walmart’s investments have extended into the acquisition of other e-Commerce brands besides Jet.com. In January, the retailer bought online footwear retailer ShoeBuy for approximately $70 million, in a move aimed at helping Jet.com offer shoppers a larger selection of shoes and sneakers. Earlier this month, the brand purchased outdoors retailer Moosejaw for $51 million, enabling Walmart to sell merchandise from brands it had not previously offered.
Walmart is ramping up the rivalry with Amazon by emphasizing its differences from the e-Commerce giant. Last month, Walmart scrapped its ShippingPass subscription program — a service similar to Prime that offered free two-day shipping for $49 a year — while dropping its free shipping threshold from $50 to $35 for all shoppers.
The brand’s success wasn’t limited to its online channels in Q4; Walmart reported its 10th straight quarter of comparable sales growth, a 1.8% increase. The retail giant also saw its store traffic increase 1.4%, the ninth straight quarterly improvement.
While total revenue increased 1.0% to $130.9 billion in the quarter, Walmart still saw a 6.6% decline in operating income to $6.2 billion, primarily due to its continued e-Commerce investments. The company generated $11.9 billion in operating cash flow and returned $3.6 billion to shareholders through dividends and share repurchases.
Walmart expects to earn between $4.20 per share and $4.40 per share for its 2017 fiscal year (which Walmart refers to as fiscal year 2018), remaining in line with this year’s $4.32 EPS.