Connect with us

BenzingaEditorial

Walmart Marks a 5 Year Streak of Quarterly Sales Gains and Turns to a Robotic Future

Published

on

Walmart News

Walmart (NYSE:WMT), US’ largest retailer and private employer has once again confirmed it is a grocery powerhouse as it issued its latest quarter earnings on Thursday. Its strong food business brought sales gains but its success is also owed to its impressive delivery infrastructure that is serving it well. But the competition all around and is there to stay.

Quarter earnings

The reported profit beat expectations and the company raised its earnings guidance for the year. But sales missed analyst’s forecasts and there is a slight decline in operating income of 5.4% resulting in $4.72 billion and dropping from $4.99 billion from the same period last year. But more on that later, as total revenue grew 2.5% to $127.99 billion from $124.89 billion a year earlier. Due to a strong groceries segment, e-sales surged 41% as grocery sales account for as much as 56% of Walmart’s total revenue, making it US’ largest grocer. The shares were up 1% after the news, with an overall 30% increase throughout the year.

Employing robots

The company expects to add self-driving robots that scrub floors to 1,860 of its more than 4,700 stores by February. In addition to the cleaning force, they will also add shelf inventory scanning robots at 350 stores along with bots at 1,700 stores to automatically scan boxes when they are delivered and sort them out onto conveyer belts. This development was to be expected considering the complex network the giant operates, as besides the impressive physical size of 178,000-square-foot supercenters, there are so many online shoppers. This strategic move should help the company control costs while enhancing productivity with one million hourly workers in its stores. So, by taking the ‘repetitive and predictive’ tasks away, the sales force will have more time to devote to their service (read: selling) roles.

Competition

Both Walmart and its competitor, Target (TGT) are testing robots in their warehouses.
But Target that has 1,850 stores in the US and 360,000 workers, but is avoiding a robot-worker strategy. The company added self-checkouts and automatic cash counting machines but the company emphasized it will not employ the robots that Walmart uses. With Target relying more on a ‘human touch matters’ strategy, this drift will surely have an impact of how these giants shape the future of retail.

New markets

Walmart had acquired a number of digitally-native fashion brands in recent years and the shift attention to these non-food items is attracting new customers, but slowly as a lot of non-customers still view Walmart as a low-price player with some just being loyal Prime members to the e-commerce giant Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) who introduced “Amazon Fresh” in October to provide its Prime members with free grocery deliveries as previously they had to pay $14.99 per month to gain this separate feature.

And competing with Amazon’s fast shipment is painful, especially when you want to maintain your low-price range. Just recently, Walmart launched a “Delivery Unlimited” membership where customers pay $98 annually or $12.95 monthly for unlimited delivers, along with an ‘in-home delivery’ option costing $19.95 a month. But there are also many deep discounters out there and let’s not forget, the ongoing tariffs whose costs Walmart will also have to absorb somehow.

Outlook

Automation has always been a ‘polarizing’ issue as it puts many lower-skilled jobs vulnerable. Walmart is on the side that automation is changing the nature of retail whereas Target is making an effort to protect its workers from technology advances. But the harsh reality is that up to 7.5 million jobs are at risk of being replaced by automation in the near future, according to a 2017 study by Cornerstone Capital Group. So the workplace is bound to look different, and not just in retail but the whole economy. But as for Walmart, the company needs to improve its position in non-food, especially online, to drive a greater volume of higher-margin general merchandise via e-commerce in order to improve its operating numbers. But the fact is that Walmart has a strong position being a company that many times defined frontiers for its competitors. And more importantly, Walmart has more room to grow. Especially as analysts expect online ordering to explode as more and more customers become comfortable with it.

This article is contributed by IAMNewswire.com. It was written by an independently verified journalist and is not a press release. It should not be construed as investment advice.

Press Releases – If you are looking for full Press release distribution contact: press@iamnewswire.com
Contributors – IAM Newswire accepts pitches. If you’re interested in becoming an IAM journalist contact: contributors@iamnewswire.com

BenzingaEditorial

Working From Home Trend and Gaming Did The Trick for Microsoft

Published

on

On Tuesday, Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) succeeded in beating forecasts far above expectations due to a boom in PC sales, increased demand for gaming and cloud services. The pandemic might have put a lot of constraints to its customers, but it also led to a structural change as businesses across the globe shifted to digital operations and saw it as key to increasing their resilience. Upon the results, Microsoft’s stock was up 5% in after-market trading.

Q2 2021 figures

Revenues increased 17percent as they amounted to $43.1 billion and exceeded $40.2 billion expected by Bloomberg. Earnings per share were $2.03, topping the expected $1.64.

The commercial cloud businesses which Wall Street sees as the main engine of Microsoft’s future growth is reaccelerating. These businesses that include Office 365 and Azure cloud platform, generated revenue of $16.7 billion in the latest quarter, which is 34 per cent up from a year before. At the same time, the launch of a new Xbox Series S and Xbox Series X lifted the gaming business as revenue of Xbox content and services was up a whopping 40% in the quarter. Personal Computing division was also up by 14 per cent as revenues amounted to $15.1 billion.

Meanwhile, the Productivity and Business Processes division reported revenue of $13.4 billion, which is a 13 percent increase. This growth was fueled by strong demand for Office 365 which grew 20 percent when adjusted for currency, which is line with the previous quarter.

Adding more fuel

Microsoft recently announced that it was investing $2 billion to be the preferred cloud provider of the General Motors (NYSE: GM) and Honda-backed (NYSE: HMC) autonomous vehicle firm Cruise. Under the agreement, Microsoft will provide cloud infrastructure for Cruise to better enable autonomous vehicles to navigate highways and surface streets in the future.

A sign of confidence

Microsoft also forecast revenue for the current quarter in the range between$40.35billion and $41.25bn. Themidpoint of the rangewould represent another quarter of 17 per cent growth, beating the 11 per cent that Wall Street forecasted.

Takeaway

Its strength in the cloud and personal computing enabled Microsoft to blow away Q2 expectations. As Mr. Nadella had put it, digital transformation is sweeping every company and every industry across the globe. Microsoft is powering this second wave of transformation that is even stronger than the first one as the world is now creating a new normal that will stay long after the COVID-19 pandemic becomes history.

This article is not a press release and is contributed by a verified independent journalist for IAMNewswire. It should not be construed as investment advice at any time please read the full disclosure. IAM Newswire does not hold any position in the mentioned companies. Press Releases – If you are looking for full Press release distribution contact: press@iamnewswire.com Contributors – IAM Newswire accepts pitches. If you’re interested in becoming an IAM journalist contact: contributors@iamnewswire.com

Continue Reading

BenzingaEditorial

This Week’s IPOs

Published

on

This week has eight scheduled IPOs with three billion-dollar deals coming from bio tech, diagnostics, software and solar equipment, among others.

Biotech

The US biotechnology company that received emergency approval from the FDA for its COVID-19 antibody and antigen tests, Ortho Clinical Diagnostics (NASDAQ: OCDX), plans to raise $1.5 billion at a $4.9 billion market cap. This pure-play in vitro diagnostics business provides diagnostic testing solutions. It is profitable on an EBIT basis, with a revenue retention rate of 99% in 2019.

Customer-survey software

Qualtrics International (NASDAQ: XM) seeks to raise as much as $1.46 billion. It provides a customer and employee experience management platform to over 12,000 organizations. But, despite its sticky customers, it operates in a highly competitive environment with low barriers to entry.

Solar equipment supplier

Shoals Technologies Group (NASDAQ: SHLS) designs and manufactures products used in large solar energy projects. It is a profitable and growing company that plans to raise $1.0 billion at a $3.6 billion market cap. However, its growth depends on international growth and its track record abroad is not impressive.

Asset-light container liner shipping company

Israel-based ZIM Integrated Shipping Services (NYSE: ZIM) plans to raise $306 million at a $2.1 billion market cap. This company positions itself as a global leader in niche markets with competitive advantages that allow it to maximize its profitability.

Mortgage

Residential mortgage producer Home Point Capital (NASDAQ: HMPT) plans to raise $250 million at a $3.0 billion market cap. It utilizes a wholesale mortgage origination channel to connect with nearly broker partners, which allows it to serve roughly 300,000 customers.

Asset management

Brazilian asset manager Vinci Partners Investments (NASDAQ: VINP) plans to raise $236 million at a $944 million market cap. Its portfolio includes private equity, public equities, real estate, credit, infrastructure, hedge funds, and investment products.

Supermarket portfolio

Southeastern Grocers (NYSE: SEGR) plans to raise $134 million (100% secondary) at a $725 million market cap. The company itself won’t sell any shares as part of the offering and will not receive any net proceeds from its public debut.

Agriculture

Agricultural technology company Agrify (NASDAQ: AGFY) plans to raise $25 million at a $115 million market cap. This company is highly unprofitable but fast growing. It aims to differentiate itself with a bundled solution of equipment, software, and services that is optimized for growth.

By the looks of it, the 2021 IPO market seems to be continuing 2020’s momentum.

This article is not a press release and is contributed by a verified independent journalist for IAMNewswire. It should not be construed as investment advice at any time please read the full disclosure. IAM Newswire does not hold any position in the mentioned companies. Press Releases – If you are looking for full Press release distribution contact: press@iamnewswire.com Contributors – IAM Newswire accepts pitches. If you’re interested in becoming an IAM journalist contact: contributors@iamnewswire.com

Continue Reading

BenzingaEditorial

This Earnings Week Will Be a Busy One

Published

on

Apply (NASDAQ: AAPL), Facebook (NASDAQ: FB), Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) and Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA) are ready to report record sales this week, along with nearly a quarter of S&P 500 companies scheduled to release their earnings reports. It will also be a busy week, or more precisely a busy Tuesday, for the Dow with 3M (NYSE: MMM), Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ), American Express (NYSE: AXP) and Verizon (NYSE: VZ) joining Microsoft as fourth-quarter earnings season gets into full swing.

Tuesday

The chip saga continues with Advanced Micro Devices (NASDAQ: AMD) whose shares rose about 5% over the past week and are now up 1.2% year to date. Expectations are high due to its strong fourth quarter results and Intel Corporation’s (NASDAQ: INTC) upside guidance that was issued last week. Wall Street expects earnings of47 cents per share on revenue of $3.02 billion as it assumes the pandemic made a minimal disruption to its business with positive trends in the datacenter business and PC sales. AMD has steadily gained market share from Intel in both of these categories.

Microsoft will also report after the close with Wall Street expecting earnings of $1.64 per share on revenue of $40.18 billion. The trends of working and learning from home continue to intensify demands for Microsoft’s offerings, as evidenced by the strong Q4 demand. But its biggest strength over the past year has been the commercial cloud business and Wall Street remains strongly positive about the company’s outlook for fiscal 2021 due to Azure’s momentum as it’s revenue was up 48% on a YoY basis in the previous quarter. But, this is a slight deceleration from the 50% growth in Q4 and investors will want some evidence that both Azure and Microsoft’s Teams that competes against Zoom (NASDAQ: ZM) can continue fueling its revenues to new heights.

Wednesday

Apple will report after the close and Wall Street expects earnings of$1.40 per share on revenue of $102.76 billion. Holiday quarter is the quarter for Apple and it needs to meet these high expectations as last year’s quarter saw earnings of $1.25 per share on revenue of $88.5 billion. This quarter will be all about sales of the iPhone 12 that has been lauded as revolutionary. The iPhone 12 came with 5G capabilities and features such as its world-facing LIDAR sensor. However, Apple is about more than the iPhone as its services business now accounts for almost 22% of total revenue. Last quarter, its revenue surged to a new record of $14.5 billion.

Facebook will also report after the close with Wall Street expecting earnings of $3.19 per share on revenue of $26.34 billion. Facebook shares had an impressive run over the past week, suggesting that the concerns over digital advertising due to the pandemic have vanished. The social media giant topped consensus earnings expectations in each of the past eleven quarters and has missed earnings estimates just once over the past half of a decade. Yet, over the past year, its shares have been under-performing due to fears of regulatory and political risk. But if it shows a strong surge in daily and monthly active users with an upbeat revenue guidance, its stock should be just fine.

Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA) will report its first quarter since it became part of the S&P 500 after the close. Wall Street expects earnings of$1.00 per share on revenue of $10.32 billion. Tesla’s shares are up 20% year to date and 99.9% since the company last reported earnings on October 21st, confirming that it is not showing any signs of slowing down. Elon Musk’s focus has been on executing the strategy that brought top and bottom-line improvements, while delivering almost half a million vehicles in 2020. Now, the electric vehicle pioneer has to show it intends to keep pressing the gas pedal.

Takeaway

A number of Republicans don’t support President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion new round of fiscal stimulus and have even criticized the price tag. Fortunately, mega tech companies that are reporting this week don’t depend on fiscal stimulus that much, as dar revenue and earnings growth is concerned.

This article is not a press release and is contributed by a verified independent journalist for IAMNewswire. It should not be construed as investment advice at any time please read the full disclosure. IAM Newswire does not hold any position in the mentioned companies. Press Releases – If you are looking for full Press release distribution contact: press@iamnewswire.com Contributors – IAM Newswire accepts pitches. If you’re interested in becoming an IAM journalist contact: contributors@iamnewswire.com

Continue Reading
Advertisement

TRENDING

Advertisement

Submit an Article

Send us your details and the subject of your article and an IAM editor will be in touch with you shortly

Trending