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Walmart Gears Up for Back-to-School Season With New Offerings

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The fact that Walmart Inc. (WMT - Free Report) has been trying all means to up the retail game reflects on its latest move to launch convenient and innovative ways to shop this back-to-school season. Most retailers look forward to reap benefits from the extensive consumer spending during this season every year. Amazon (AMZN - Free Report) too is well set to attract customers this season with its extravagant Prime Day offerings on July 16. Undoubtedly, Walmart’s latest strategies for the back-to-school season positions it well to lock horns with Amazon. That said, let’s look into some of the plans that the company has put into place.

Wholesome Goodies This Season

Walmart’s robust plans to cash-in on consumers’ demand this back-to-school season includes the introduction of tools that facilitate convenient shopping and stock-up items earlier to avoid last-minute fuss. Unique amongst them is the introduction of new features on to help parents, students and teachers find supplies easily. The expansion enables parents to effortlessly locate items in store and also choose from a diverse range of products. Further, Walmart has come up with an innovative ‘Buy the Room’ feature that provides curated collection to cater to college students’ dorm needs. Additionally, the company plans to launch a new feature called Teacher Shop on its website to provide classroom supplies.

Consumers will also benefit from Walmart’s sturdy pickup and home delivery services this season. Well, compared with last year, Walmart’s pickup facilities are present in twice as many stores this year. In fact, in 2018, Walmart has expanded the back-to-school assortments available for pickups and supply the items within seven days.  Alternatively, consumers can have supplies shipped to their homes, courtesy of the company’s well-spread home delivery services.

Apart from these, Walmart also plans to offer trendy products along with the basics. In fact, almost 25% of the company’s assortment this season will be new. Acting as the cherry on the cake, the company plans to offer school supplies at incredibly low prices this season and maintain its fame for providing value for money. Also, the big-box retailer has lined up several events across stores to help customers chose products wisely.

With such novel and exclusive strategies to lure consumers this back-to-school season, Walmart has definitely raised the bars for other retailers. Moreover, such well-spun strategies are likely to boost revenues in the second quarter of fiscal 2019.

Walmart’s Host of Initiatives to Enhance Performance

Walmart has always been committed to seek new ways to constantly expand and evolve in the retail world. Starting from prudent acquisitions and partnerships to combining shopping with advanced technology, the supermarket giant has played several cards to maintain its presence in the industry.

Well, these strategies are not just limited to bolster market share in the United States, but also across the globe. Incidentally, Walmart is undertaking various initiatives to shift focus on regions with high growth potential — particularly China and India. This is evident from the Walmart-Flipkart deal, which will help the company expand presence in India. Also, with the intent to operate profitably, the company plans to merge the U.K. grocery unit — Asda — with J Sainsbury and shut first-party e-commerce business in Brazil.  Further, there were reports yesterday that Walmart has plans to exit the Japanese market through the divestiture of the supermarket chain Seiyu, that has been performing dismally for a while.

Can the Efforts Counter Challenges?  

While Walmart’s relentless efforts to strengthen domestic and global business are quite impressive, costs associated with investments in e-commerce, technological advancements and compelling pricing strategies have been weighing on margins. In fact, strained margins along with anticipated negative near-term impacts stemming from the Flipkart deal have caused the company's shares to decline 14.2% in the past six months compared with the industry's 12.3% fall.

Nevertheless, we expect that the company’s strategic actions will boost the top line and provide sufficient cover to the aforementioned hurdles.  On that note, this Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) company is sure to seize many bountiful opportunities across several markets globally and maintain its position as one of the leading names in retail.

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