Sizzle/Fizzle

eCommerce Sizzle Boosts Brick-and-Mortar Comp Sales

eCommerce Sizzle Boosts Brick-and-Mortar Sales

In this week’s sizzles, Walmart digital sales increase, Visa says contactless checkout is on the rise and Buffett’s Berkshire invests in Amazon. Fizzles include SoftBank shares sliding, retail sales fluctuating and the Supreme Court green-lighting the lawsuit against Apple.

Call it the eCommerce wind beneath brick-and-mortar wings.

For Walmart, U.S. digital sales were up 37 percent. For Macy’s, mobile was up double digits, too.

And thus, comp store sales were better than the Street had expected.

Walmart said the eCommerce numbers were buoyed by grocery, home and fashion, which drove comp sales up 3.4 percent, its strongest showing in almost a decade and 10 basis points better than had been expected. The 70-basis-point gain seen by Macy’s was less spectacular, perhaps, but still leagues better than the 20-basis-point drop the Street had been expecting.

So against that backdrop, Walmart’s adjusted revenues beat the Street, where sales ex-currency headwinds topped the $125 billion consensus. Macy’s, after rough sledding through the holiday season, saw revenues roughly in line with the Street at $5.5 billion.

“We’re continuing our transformation to become more of a digital enterprise,” Walmart CEO Doug McMillon noted on the results.

Amid Walmart’s recent initiatives, too, it has announced plans to roll out next-day delivery across the country for more than 200,000 items. It’s a game of leapfrog, seemingly, in an effort to counter Amazon’s recent announcement that Prime shipping is moving its target from two-day shipping to one-day.

One quarter and earnings beat is more snapshot than trend. For Walmart, online sales growth of 37 percent represents a pickup over the 34 percent digital growth seen last year, but also represents a step down from the 43 percent seen in the fourth quarter (which, of course, was boosted by holiday spending). But for the week, it’s a sizzle indeed.

Sizzle

Contactless checkout: It’s gathering steam, as Visa says that 80 out of 100 merchants offer the tap-to-pay option in the U.S. That’s on top of 11 out of 25 of the top issuers in the U.S. offering contactless cards. The company has a bit of roadmap in place, as half of all payments made outside the U.S. are done through contactless means.

Chinese consumer spending: It proves resilient, as growth rebounds for Alibaba’s core eCommerce operations, north of 50 percent, and management says consumers in “lower-tier” cities are underpinning momentum.

Amazon: The eCommerce giant gets the thumbs-up from Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, which has bought more than 480,000 shares, worth as much as $900 million as calculated per Amazon’s recent closing price.

Fizzle

SoftBank: Shares slide as the investment firm has heavy exposure to the ride-hailing industry. Into the middle of the week, shares in the company lost a collective $16 billion in market cap amid the busted Uber IPO.

Retail sales: They’re up, they’re down, they’re bouncing around and now they’re down again, according to the April numbers. This time, it’s right into the teeth of a ramped-up trade war and a boost to consumers amid higher prices for any number of Chinese goods. In the latest reading, consumers pulled back on spending and retail sales were off 20 basis points.

Apple: The Supreme Court rules that a suit over the tech giant’s App Store can proceed. The Court’s 5-4 opinion rejected the tech giant’s argument that consumers can’t sue the company for escalated prices because the prices are set by developers and not the tech firm.

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