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Walmart Posts Strong Earnings As E-Commerce Sales Rise 23%

Discount retailer Walmart (WMT) has reported strong financial results for the fourth quarter of last year due largely to a surge in e-commerce sales.

Walmart reported earnings per share (EPS) of $1.80 U.S. compared to $1.65 U.S. that was forecast on Wall Street.

Revenue in the October through December quarter totaled $173.39 billion U.S. versus $170.71 billion U.S. that was expected by analysts who cover the company.

Walmart’s overall sales rose 6% from a year earlier as shoppers turned to the big-box retailer throughout the holiday season and the company’s global e-commerce sales grew by 23%.

E-commerce sales worldwide surpassed $100 billion U.S. for the first time. In the U.S., e-commerce sales rose 17% year-over-year as shoppers chose to get orders delivered to their homes.

Same-store sales at Walmart outlets rose 4% in the U.S. At Sam’s Club, same-store sales increased 1.9%, including gasoline sales.

In late January, Walmart announced plans to open more than 150 stores in the U.S. over the next five years. The company also plans to upgrade more than 1,400 of its existing Walmart stores so that they have a more modern look.

Along with the store investments, Walmart announced a 3-for-1 stock split as it shares reached an all-time high to start this year.

In terms of guidance, Walmart said it expects sales to rise 4% to 5% in the current first quarter. It also forecast earnings of $1.48 U.S. to $1.56 U.S. per share on a pre-stock split basis.

For all of this year, Walmart is calling for its sales to rise 3% to 4% and is forecasting earnings of $6.70 U.S. to $7.12 U.S. per share on a pre-stock split basis.

Walmart’s stock is up 5% on news of its latest earnings. Over the past 12 months, the company’s share price has increased 16% to trade at $170.36 U.S.