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Ecommerce sales sizzle as assortments expand

Walmart said sales of its Global eCommerce business unit grew by 40% during the third quarter as it increased investments, expanded assortments and included results from a Chinese acquisition.

The sales growth of the global ecommerce business was in sharp contrast to the low single digit sales gains of Walmart’s U.S. stores and Sam’s Club divisions and was driven by several key factors. Third quarter sales reflected the acquisition of Chinese Internet retailer Yihaodian and a dramatic expansion of the Walmart.com product offering which more than doubled to five million products. Without the impact of Yihaodian global ecommerce sales grew roughly 20%.

“We’re investing in fulfillment centers, like the facility recently opened in Fort Worth, Texas, to be closer to our customers and to expedite the delivery of their merchandise,” said Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., president and CEO Mike Duke. “We are accelerating the integration of e-commerce with our business segments. I’m really excited about the fantastic growth opportunities that lie ahead of us, as Walmart serves millions of additional customers through our e-commerce sites in 10 countries.”

The heightened level of ecommerce activity this year was originally projected to represent an investment of nine cents a share, according to EVP and treasurer Jeff Davis, but increased expenditures cause the company to boost the figure by a penny.

“Each of our formats is rapidly converging with our digital platforms through the continued development of programs like ship from store, Scan & Go, lockers and more,” said Walmart U.S. president and CEO Bill Simon. “We’re focused on innovative ways to serve the customer, like the grocery delivery test which we recently expanded to Denver. To complement these programs, we’re expanding our endless aisle, giving our customers the ability to shop anytime and anywhere.”