Walmart grew ecommerce sales 24% in Q2

Walmart Inc. announced Aug. 17 that U.S. online sales grew 24% for the fiscal 2024 second quarter ended July 28, 2023. International ecommerce sales grew 26%.

Comparable in-store sales grew more modestly, up 6.4%, excluding fuel over the same period. That’s above analyst expectations of 4.1% growth.

Total revenue grew too, by 5.7% to $161.6 billion.

Net revenue was up 6.6% for the first half of fiscal 2024 compared to the six month period last year, Walmart said. Revenue for the first half of the year reached $313.9 billion.

Online sales remain one of the fastest-growing areas of Walmart’s business. They grew about four times as quickly as comparable in-store sales in the same period. That’s on top of 27% year-over-year growth in Q1. More than 50% of digital orders are fulfilled by stores, Walmart said.

According to Walmart, pickup and delivery services drove the growth, similar to the retailer’s statement in Q1.

John David Rainey, chief financial officer, said in the call that the company liked the trends in ecommerce. Customers are increasingly counting on Walmart for convenience, and they’re visiting the  company’s app and sites more often.

Weekly active digital users grew 20% in the quarter.

Walmart is planning further online sales growth. The retailer plans to “densify their inventory at the first mile, make the middle mile as efficient as possible and then shorten the last mile”.

Sam’s Club, Walmart’s membership-based warehouse chain, reported ecommerce sales grew 18% in the quarter driven by curbside orders. Net sales, meanwhile, declined slightly, down 0.3%. Income from memberships grew 7%, Walmart said.

Walmart+, the retailer’s membership program in competition with Amazon Prime, also had “consistent growth,” the retailer said, noting the success of Walmart Plus Week in July without revealing more. The sales event drove record customer acquisition, Walmart said.

Walmart gained market share in grocery, while general merchandise sales declined “modestly.”

Consumers are purchasing more cooking tools to focus on cooking at home. They’re also buying more necessities and focusing on lower-priced items and brands.

Following the successful quarter, Walmart announced increases to its outlook for the rest of fiscal 2024. The retailer increased its forecast for consolidated net sales, with a forecasted increase of 4.0-4.5% for the full year, compared to 3.5% at the end of Q1 in May. Walmart also raised expectations for its consolidated operating income, from 4.0%-4.5% to 7.0%-7.5%.

For the second quarter ended July 28, 2023, Walmart reported:

  • Total revenue grew 5.7% to $161.6 billion.
  • Walmart U.S. ecommerce sales grew 24%.
  • Consolidated net income increased 56.5% to $8.1 billion.

For the first half of the fiscal 2024 ended July 28, Walmart reported:

  • Total revenue grew 6.6% to $313.9 billion.
  • Consolidated net income grew 37.2% to $9.9 billion.

Global shipping costs increase after 16-month falling

Spot rates for shipping containers jumped by the most in more than two years, which means that a 16-month slump in ocean-freight costs that helped ease the sting of goods inflation is over.

The Drewry World Container Index composite increased 11.8% to $1,761 for a 40-foot container. That’s the fourth straight advance and biggest week-on-week percentage gain since June 2021. The composite had fallen in 15 of the 16 months through June. It reflects short-term rates across eight trade routes connecting Asia, Europe and the U.S.

The costs for shipping from Shanghai to Los Angeles reached $2,322 per 40-foot container unit. That’s an 11.3% increase from the previous week and fifth straight increase, according to Drewry. From Shanghai to Rotterdam, the rate jumped 25% to $1,620, the most since January 2021.

Shipping rates jumped tenfold to record highs during the height of the pandemic. Consumers had shouldered household expenses and COVID-19 led to a blockage of logistics networks.

Since then, container shipping costs have returned to levels reached before the health crisis, which has recently declined due to bloated inventories and low consumer spending.

Matson Inc., a Honolulu-based container carrier providing an express service from China to the U.S. and charging a premium for the faster route, earlier this week said retailers are continuing to manage inventories carefully amid weaker demand.

Matson CEO Matt Cox said in the August 1 statement that in the absence of an economic hard landing in the U.S., they continue to expect trade dynamics to gradually improve through the end of the year as the transpacific marketplace transitions to a more normalized level of consumer demand and retail inventories stocking levels.

Last week, closely held French carrier CMA CGM SA laid out a gloomy outlook for the industry, especially on more established trade lanes. CMA CGM Chief Finance Officer Ramon Fernandez told reporters that East-West shipping routes are under more pressure and dropping faster than the North-South trade, which remains pretty dynamic.

Copenhagen-based A.P. Moller-Maersk A/S, the world’s No. 2 container carrier, is scheduled to release an interim report on Aug. 4 for its second quarter results, according to

The FTC’s proposed ‘click to cancel’ rule to impact ecommerce subscription businesses

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) proposed new “click to cancel” rule could make canceling subscriptions much easier for consumers. It would apply to any retailers that sell products or services with subscriptions, automatic renewals, or similar systems.

The rule would require companies to offer an easy way to cancel subscriptions and recurring memberships.

  • The ruling would ban requiring consumers to call to cancel subscriptions that they’d signed up for online.
  • Retailers would also be required to give more information about subscription beginning and end dates and how to cancel.
  • Retailers would also need to send annual reminders to customers for subscriptions that don’t involve physical goods.

Subscriptions have long been promising territory for ecommerce retailers hoping to build a returning customer base. The global subscription box market reached $26.9 billion in 2022, according to Expert Market Research. The firm expects the subscription box market to reach $74.2 billion by 2028.

The legality of automatic subscription renewals can be difficult to navigate, according to lawyer Robert Freund, who focuses on ecommerce.

Subscriptions and cancellations are governed by many laws across the U.S. The 2010 Restore Online Shoppers’ Confidence Act (ROSCA) requires retailers to provide “simple mechanisms for a consumer to stop recurring charges.” In 2021, The Federal Trade Commission issued a statement warning companies about employing “illegal dark patterns” to keep customers from canceling memberships.

The federal law is somewhat vague, and many states have adopted their own, stricter laws. The combination of federal laws, FTC enforcement, and differing state laws is difficult to comply with.

Retailers open themselves to friendly fraud when they automatically renew subscriptions or make them difficult to cancel, according to Chargebacks911, a risk management software provider that helps retailers in billing disputes.

The company’s CEO Monica Eaton told Digital Commerce 360 that a tedious cancellation process could push customers to file a chargeback, or file a complaint with entities like the FTC even if the retailer is fully compliant and following all payment processing guidelines that govern their merchant account.

Customers who forget to cancel a free trial or don’t recognize a recurring subscription charge on their bank statement can file a dispute with their bank. Retailers may then have to pay additional chargeback fees, or pay to fight the charges. Too many chargeback requests can lead to a retailer losing processing capabilities.

European marketplaces attract big investment bucks

A new ranking of 25 top B2B marketplaces notes that they have raised a combined total of more than $2.1 billion in funding.

The European B2B marketplace market is growing at a rapid rate and continuing to attract bigger amounts of investment money, says a new research report, the Europe B2B Marketplaces Top 25 Ranking 2023, from Applico Inc. It shows that 25 marketplaces in the ranking have raised more than $2.1 billion over time. 85% of the money is flowing into marketplaces in building materials, retail, and food products.

According to the report, investors in the U.S. have followed a similar path with building materials, food products, B2B marketplaces accounting for over 40% of capital raised across leading digital B2B marketplaces in the U.S.

A rising new area of investment is marketplaces focused on industrial machinery for contract manufacturing, where successful businesses in the U.S. have attracted $475 million of capital. There are a few marketplaces in Europe that have similar business models and capabilities.

Examples of B2B marketplace operators targeting Europe for growth include Amazon Business and Xometry. Amazon Business is improving logistics operations in Europe to make it more attractive for corporate-account customers to make bulk purchases of supplies ranging from desks and IT equipment to paper and printer ink. That provides Amazon the opportunity to reap higher margins compared with small-order retail consumer sales.

Because businesses buy in larger quantities, the fulfillment economics are more advantageous, Amazon told Reuters.

Otto partners with AI-startup Covariant

The Otto Group is partnering with Covariant, a company specializing in AI-driven warehouse robots. With the partnership, Otto wants to automate its fulfilment activities and increase its operational efficiency. Otto’s German fulfilment locations will be robotized first.

The German Otto Group is the owner of leading ecommerce brands such as About You and Bonprix. Recently, Otto announced it is disbanding its toy platform MyToys as it was not able to become profitable.

Covariant was founded in 2017 in the United States. The company offers AI-driven warehouse robots for automated order picking, placement and sorting. Only a month ago the business raised 75 million dollars, with the total amount raised of over 200 million dollars.

By partnering with Covariant, Otto wants to ‘automate a variety of manual fulfillment activities that previously required hand-eye coordination’, the company writes. The aim is to install hundreds of Covariant’s robotic solutions in Otto Group’s fulfilment centres, starting with the German locations Haldensleben and Altenkunstadt.

Logistics needs to be as cost-efficient as possible. By using generalist AI, Otto can find an answer to the massive shortage of workers on the market.  According to CEO Services Kay Schiebur from the Otto Group, as transshipment is often outsourced to cheaper locations now, Otto is particularly pleased to be able to continue to be close to their customers and to strengthen the European and especially the German locations.

Shopify announces cutting jobs again and sells logistics business


Shopify Inc. will cut jobs for the second time in 10 months and has agreed to sell the majority of its logistics business to Flexport Inc., according to a memo issued by the company’s Tobi Lütke. The company faces a challenging climb back from last year’s slump.

Shopify Inc. expects to incur severance charges of $140 million to $150 million.

The ecommerce platform provider also announced its fiscal first-quarter earnings on May 4. It said itsrevenue increased 25% to $1.5 billion compared to the prior year.

Gross merchandise volume, the total value of merchant sales across Shopify’s platforms, was $49.6 billion. That’s above Wall Street projections of $47.68 billion, and some $6.4 billion higher than comparable quarter of 2022.

The Ottawa-based company also gave an outlook for the second quarter, saying it expects revenue to grow at a similar rate to the first quarter growth rate on a year-over-year basis. It also expects to achieve free cash flow profitability for each quarter of 2023.

At the beginning of the pandemic, Shopify hoped that the rapid growth of online shopping would become permanent. When the hopes were not fulfilled, Lutke tried to rebuild the company. Last summer, they cut about 1,000 jobs, raised prices and focused on creating offers for their customers and their own fulfillment network. At the end of 2022, Shopify had 11,600 employees.

US ecommerce in 2022 tops $1 trillion for first time

U.S. ecommerce sales reached $1.03 trillion in 2022, according to a Digital Commerce 360 analysis of U.S. Department of Commerce figures released Friday. That marks the first time ecommerce revenue has topped the $1 trillion level. It’s also well above 2021’s $960.44 billion.

Digital Commerce 360 had earlier forecast ecommerce sales of $1.03 trillion for 2022 in its mid-year U.S. Ecommerce Market Report.

That remarkable level of sales comes with a slight bump in ecommerce penetration to 21.2% for the year from 21.0% in 2021.

Ecommerce sales grew 7.7% in 2022 year over year. That’s a dramatic drop from the double-digit ecommerce growth in each of the past five years. It’s also the slowest growth rate since the 2.8% growth in 2009. Ecommerce sales growth in 2022 was stayed slightly higher than the total retail sales growth of 6.8% that the Commerce Department reported in 2022. That’s the closest yearly total sales growth has come to reach ecommerce sales growth since the Commerce Department started tracking online sales.

Ecommerce’s share of total retail growth in 2022 was 23.8% year over year. That’s down from the 25.2% share of total retail growth in 2021 and well below the record-setting share of 84.2% during the pandemic in 2020.

Small business now counts more than ever on B2B ecommerce

Small businesses counted on ecommerce to get them through the pandemic. These expectations habe been met, but growing sales online remains a top priority, as says a new survey data from

Alibaba’s vice president Andrew Zheng admits that 2022 brought significant challenges for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) by volatile energy prices and soaring inflation.

Using ecommerce was the top strategy for survival, with 36% of small businesses attempting ecommerce or digitalization.

The survey of 1,000 small business owners finds that:

  • 70% of small companies surveyed said the impact of COVID-19 drove them to make greater investments in digital technologies.
  • B2B online sellers will likely see greater competition in 2023 as businesses continue to adapt to the rising need for digitization.
  • Businesses with the smallest number of employees were more negatively affected by last year’s challenging market.
    • 25% of survey respondents with under 10 employees shut down completely.
    • Only 13% of respondents with over 250 employees had the same results.
  • Small businesses got creative to keep sales up and survive the post-pandemic pressures.
    • Using ecommerce was the top strategy for survival, with 36% of small businesses attempting ecommerce or digitalization throughout and directly following the pandemic.
    • Many flocked to B2B ecommerce marketplaces and continue to use those resources in today’s market.
    • 54% of small businesses surveyed responded that B2B ecommerce platforms remain critical to their current operations.
  • To capture more sales and increase customers, over a third (32%) of small businesses took to expanding sales channels in order to survive the pandemic’s effects. Other tactics used included:
    • Cutting expenses (13%).
    • Seeking support from local governments or institutions (11%).
    • Investing in research and development to upgrade products (8%).

Digital selling provided an opportunity for these businesses to reach customers locally and globally without stretching operating budgets, Zheng says. But B2B sellers must stay ahead of digital export trends in 2023 to find continued success.

Italy seizes large-scale fake ecommerce websites

Italian officials have begun seizing what could be one of the world’s largest networks of fake ecommerce websites, which have deceived potential customers by appearing to offer discounted goods from luxury brands such as Giorgio Armani SpA and Prada SpA that never materialize.

A group of Chinese cyber-criminals allegedly manages the illicit network of more than 13,000 fake ecommerce websites, as suggested by infrastructure code and the payment system’s gateway, according to people familiar with the matter.

It is Cybersecurity firm Yarix that discovered the illicit network. A spokesman for this company has confirmed that the company is actively assisting a large-scale investigation aimed at taking down fake ecommerce websites. Law enforcement agencies from other European countries and the U.S. could later join the investigation, the spokesman added.

Officials at Italian law enforcement agency Polizia Postale on Jan. 25 started taking down some of these fake ecommerce websites related to Italian brands, the people said.

These sites are well-designed imitations of genuine corporate websites. Discounted prices usually attract customers. But no deliveries are made, and the websites generally include a real credit card payment platform used to steal buyers’ financial data.

A representative for Italy’s Polizia Postale confirmed the operation and declined to comment on details.

What they have revealed is a coordinated, infrastructured network of well-designed fake shops across the world that in the last two years have probably stolen tens of millions of euros, dollars from unsuspecting clients.

The criminal network have targeted such Italian fashion brands as Brunello Cucinelli, Dolce & Gabbana, Ermenegildo Zegna, Moncler, and international sports brands such as Nike, Adidas and New Balance.

Most of the fake shops’ servers and digital platforms searched in the current probe are located in Panama, Turkey and the U.S.

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