BUSINESS Walmart bullish as online sales increase in China

BUSINESS

Walmart bullish as online sales increase in China

China Daily

09:19, August 21, 2020

Shoppers pay at a Walmart store in Beijing. (Photo: China Daily)

US retailer Walmart Inc is anticipating a more "collaborative relationship" between China and the United States, after the global retailer said on Tuesday that its net e-commerce sales in China grew 104 percent on a yearly basis during the quarter to July 31.

"It is our hope that the two countries will work together in the years to come, to find ways to have a collaborative relationship," Walmart CEO Douglas McMillon told Fox News. "We want to be able to do business in China. I know a lot of US businesses and farmers want to as well."

The executive also said that "about two-thirds of what we sell is made in the US", which is a boost for US manufacturers' products overseas.

Walmart said the growth in China e-commerce sales beat the 97-percent growth in the US. The Bentonville, Arkansas-based company said its Sam's Club membership stores saw double-digit comparable sales growth in China.

The US firm has been investing heavily in China, from opening new Sam's Club stores to partnering with Dada, a local grocery-delivery platform, CNBC reported. Earlier this month, Dada announced that Walmart's 400-plus stores in China have been connected to the online platform, which promises delivery within an hour.

E-commerce for Walmart expanded by more than 200 percent in Canada, Mexico and Central America, according to the earnings release.

"Canada, China and Mexico led the way, as customers chose one-stop shopping and omnichannel solutions," McMillon said.

"During these challenging times, we continued to execute the strategy of building strong local businesses powered in China by Walmart and announced additional investments in China and India focused on positioning the portfolio for growth," said Brett Biggs, chief financial officer.

Jeffrey Williamson, director of California State Trade Expansion, told China Daily that "there are several strategic moves that are benefiting Walmart in China and their growth in e-tail".

"Trust, price, selection and convenience are important drivers for online shopping and Walmart has already gained 'trust' through its physical-store presence in China for decades, and has been positioning itself with attractive prices and vast selection (including both imports and popular local goods)," said Williamson, who is also a professor at the Inland Empire Center for Entrepreneurship at California State University, San Bernardino.

"The partnership with JD provides important synergies for both JD to extend to offline, and Walmart to extend online, which may be contributing to the results," he said.

Walmart's profit jumped by 79 percent in the three months through June 30, as US citizens spent more time at home during the novel coronavirus pandemic and ordered more goods online.

The company reported earnings of $6.48 billion, or an adjusted $1.56 per share, better than the $1.25 a share that Wall Street analysts surveyed by Refinitiv were expecting, according to CNBC. Total revenue rose 5.4 percent to $137.7 billion, ahead of the $135.48 billion consensus.

Walmart also was No 1 in the Fortune Global 500 list of the world's largest companies released last week. The number of Chinese companies on the list exceeded US companies for the first time.

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