Wall Street wasn’t wowed when Walmart announced its consolidated net sales for fiscal year 2014 grew just 1.6% year-over-year. But the retailer was able to hang its hat on its global ecommerce sales, which CEO Doug McMillon said grew 30% and surpassed $10 billion.
“We know that technology is changing how customers around the world shop, and we are changing with them,” McMillon said during its Feb. 20 earnings call. “Customers are rapidly adopting mobile, and we’re evolving quickly by enhancing the experience through improved apps.”
McMillon said that over the past year in particular, Walmart has invested more significantly to improve its customer experience and fulfillment capacity. Cycle times on ecommerce related to capital investments are much more fluid than those for stores, so Walmart will increase its ecommerce investment as opportunities present themselves.
“We also see an environment to create transformative growth in global ecommerce and mobile commerce,” McMillon said. “Our ability to combine online and mobile with [our] assets positions us to win at the intersection of physical and digital retail, which is a competitive advantage.”
CFO and executive vice president Charles Holley said Walmart expects to grow global ecommerce sales to over $13 billion this fiscal year, with continued focus on the U.S., U.K., China and Brazil.
“Our websites in Canada and Mexico are starting to gain even more customer traffic,” Holley said. “We continue to step up investments in Pangaea, our global technology platform, which helped drive sales across our retail websites in the U.S., the U.K. and Brazil.”
Holley said the growth is enabled by investments Walmart is making in fulfillment and replenishment. The 800,000 sq. ft. ecommerce fulfillment center it opened in Fort Worth, TX, in September exceeded expectations during the holiday season, and that two new fulfillment facilities in Bethlehem, PA and Brazil are expected to open in the coming weeks.
David Cheesewright, president and CEO of Walmart International, said this is the first quarter that global sales from its 2012 acquisition of Chinese online grocer Yihaodian is included in Walmart’s constant currency numbers. During the first three quarters of the year, Yihaodian contributed $730 million in sales, which were not included in its constant currency results.