Wal-Mart Touts E-Commerce Focus as It Reveals New Financial Targets

By Austen Hufford Features Dow Jones Newswires

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is continuing its strategy of focusing on domestic existing stores and e-commerce growth to increase sales, highlighting how the retailer is trying to adapt to the rise of online selling.

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At an investor meeting Tuesday, executives plan to say that Wal-Mart will keep U.S. store openings to a minimum. In its 2019 fiscal year, which ends in January 2019, the world's biggest retailer plans to open fewer than 25 stores in the U.S., down from opening 230 stores as recently as fiscal 2016. Meanwhile, the company said it will open 255 new stores in other countries with a focus on Mexico and China.

Instead, the company plans to build revenue by focusing on its e-commerce business to drive growth. Next year, the company says U.S. revenue from online purchases will rise about 40% and it will add more than 1,000 online grocery pickup locations.

Wal-Mart also expects adjusted earnings per share growth of 5% in its 2019 fiscal year to outpace sales growth of about 3%, a positive sign for the company which has recently struggled to boost profits amid investments in e-commerce.

The company maintained its adjusted earnings per share guidance in the current fiscal year of $4.30 to $4.40.

Shares in Wal-Mart rose 1.9% to $82.05 in premarket trading.

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The company also announced a new $20 billion share buyback program, which it intends to use over the next two years. The new buyback authorization, replaces another $20 billion one, announced in October 2015.

Write to Austen Hufford at austen.hufford@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 10, 2017 09:05 ET (13:05 GMT)