Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT - Analyst Report) has reportedly increased its stake in Chinese eCommerce website, JD.com Inc., to 10.8% from 5.9%, aiming to grab more market share in the world’s largest online market. Shares of JD.com jumped 7.5% in after-hours trading following the news.
The move comes nearly four months after Wal-Mart inked a deal with JD.com. to sell its Chinese eCommerce business, Yihaodian to JD.com in exchange for a 5% equity stake in the company.
JD.com is the second-largest online retailer in China after Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. (BABA - Analyst Report) in terms of market cap. The expanded deal with JD.com is expected to offer Wal-Mart a better chance of competing in the cut-throat retail industry in China and expand its reach in the country. Evidently, it expects to generate 25% of global retail growth from the region over the next five years. Further, this will benefit Wal-Mart with JD.com's huge customer base and its same-day delivery network.
We note that Wal-Mart has been struggling of late to expand its reach in China. The retailer opened its first store in the country in 1996, but only has about 430 stores there at present. The company has stated various reasons for the sluggish business operations in the region.
In China, the company has long been dealing with food safety scandals despite trying to maintain high food safety standards. Wal-Mart China too has been facing significant pressure from government austerity measures and deflation. Further, the company faces problems in understanding discerning Chinese consumers as their buying decisions aren’t always price driven.
Apart from expansion in China, this Bentonville, AR-based company is leaving no stone unturned to acquire a stake in the online business. In this regard, it continues to make huge investments in eCommerce initiatives, including acquisitions. Recently, Wal-Mart completed the acquisition of eCommerce company, Jet.com, Inc., which marked a huge step forward in its quest to dominate ecommerce king, Amazon.com, Inc. (AMZN - Analyst Report) . Wal-Mart is also in talks to acquire a stake in India's largest eCommerce firm, Flipkart Online Services Pvt., in order to expand in the fast-growing online retail market.
Wal-Mart currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).
A well-positioned retailer is The Children's Place, Inc. (PLCE - Snapshot Report) , which sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.
The Children’s Place has an average positive earnings surprise of 33.06% in the trailing four quarters. It also has a long-term earnings growth rate of 10.33%.
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