NEW YORK: Wal-Mart Stores offered an upbeat outlook on Tuesday (Oct 10) on its makeover to a more digital-oriented shopping giant, forecasting higher profits in 2019 amid heavy investments in e-commerce and higher wages.
The world's biggest retailer confirmed its profit forecasts for fiscal 2018, and projected a five percent growth in adjusted earnings per share in fiscal 2019.
It also expects net sales to grow at or above three percent in fiscal 2019.
"We have good momentum in the business, we're executing our strategy and moving with speed to win with the customer, who is more connected than ever and embracing tools that will save them both time and money," said chief executive Doug McMillon.
The forecasts were greeted on Wall Street, which has punished many other retailers for lacking a solid strategy for competing against Amazon and other online retailers.
Shares rose 1.8 per cent to US$82 in pre-market trading.
Wal-Mart has boosted capital investment on smartphone apps and other digital technology and announced a series of e-commerce acquisitions, most notably a US$3.3 billion purchase of Jet.com in 2016.
On Monday, Wal-Mart said it upgraded its procedures to allows swifter returns of items at stores, by allowing customers to initiate the return on the smartphone app and then drop it off at a store.
Many analysts expect stiff competition among supermarkets in home delivery of groceries following Amazon's purchase this year of Whole Foods Market.