Walmart saw a nice boost in its second quarter results, which contrasted from rival retailer Target.While both big-box retailers have been taking steps to improve their offerings on the grocery aisles, only Walmart has seen that translate into noticeable results. For the quarter, Walmart saw a nice improvement in same-store sales for groceries, and perhaps more importantly, noticed a solid increase in the amount of foot traffic perusing its grocery aisles. The efforts to ramp up the presentation aspect - including the display of fresher and more vibrant produce - seems to have had an effect so far, and that could translate into a long-term increase in the number of Walmart shoppers that also take care of their grocery shopping at the big-box store.
Overall, Walmart reported that traffic increased by more than 1% at its US locations for the second quarter, and company executives have pointed to low gas prices and a hot summer as part of the reason. Additionally, the retailer has also increased its efforts in the areas of store cleanliness and improving the overall stocking of merchandise.
“Overall, we’re seeing a consumer that’s acting pretty steadily.” shared Greg Foran, the chief executive of Walmart US.
The story was different on the Target side, as the chain saw some great volatility in results on a store-by-store basis, and even saw vastly different results from different corners of the US. While stores in California performed strongly, those on the East Coast struggled. Target has also increased its efforts in the grocery department, but that hasn’t translated into noticeable results as it has for Walmart.
In-store is not the only area that Walmart has been striving for improvement in. The company has focused on improving its online business, and it’s working. Online sales were up by nearly 12% for the quarter, and the increase in its network of fulfillment centers and the expansion of its grocery pickup program is starting to bear fruit. The retail giant has also substantially increased the number of products offered online. In January, the number stood at 8 million; today, it’s up to 15 million.