Customers shop at a Walmart store in Chicago, Illinois on May 18, 2023.
Scott Olson | Getty Images
Shares of Walmart hit an all-time high on Friday as investors bet that the discount retailer’s reputation for value for money will outperform retail rivals and attract shoppers throughout the holiday season.
The major retailer’s shares hit a high of $166.30 earlier in the day. This is the highest value since Walmart first began trading on the New York Stock Exchange in August 1972.
Walmart, known for its huge stores and low prices, posted strong results last year even as U.S. consumers declined in discretionary purchases such as new outfits, flat-screen TVs and more. It is the country’s largest grocer and generates more than half of its annual sales from groceries – a category that shoppers need even as inflation or a recession strains their budgets.
That deal has helped Walmart attract more customers, even as other retailers like Macy’s and Target issued cautious forecasts and reported weaker results.
For Walmart, ongoing inflation — particularly in categories like groceries and household items — has also become an opportunity to attract new or infrequent shoppers to its website and stores. Speaking to CNBC in recent quarters, Chief Financial Officer John David Rainey said the company has attracted more grocery shoppers from households making more than $100,000.
When these shoppers visit the company’s stores and website, they see how Walmart has tried to improve the customer experience to compete with more sophisticated, tech-savvy competitors like Target and Amazon. The company has launched and expanded fashion clothing brands. It has given its website and app a facelift. The company is investing more than $9 billion over the next two years to upgrade its stores across the country and give them a modern look. Additionally, the company has added more items and higher quality brands to its website through its third-party marketplace.
Walmart has also bucked other retail dynamics. While gains are slowing due to the Covid-19 pandemic and most companies are seeing online sales declines, the company has delivered double-digit e-commerce gains for its U.S. business in the last two quarters.
In an interview with CNBC in August, Rainey said that Walmart may be luring customers with its prices, but it wants to beat the competition and retain those shoppers by making purchases quick and easy. Curbside pickup and delivery has fueled the company’s e-commerce growth, he said.
“It really shows that the value proposition for Walmart is much more than just low prices or value. It’s about convenience today,” Rainey said. “So we’re very focused on that and actually both aspects of that part of our business.”
As the company outperforms many of its peers, some investors have taken notice. So far this year, Walmart shares are up almost more than 16%. That exceeds the more than 13% gains for the S&P 500 and the roughly 3% gains for the retail-focused ETF XRT over the same period.
Walmart is scheduled to report its third-quarter results on November 16th.
– CNBC’s Christopher Hayes contributed to this story.
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Source : www.cnbc.com