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Walmart Stores shares advance as it unveils digital expansion plans

For fiscal 2019, the group expects earnings to increase around 5% compared to 2018.
Walmart Stores shares advance as it unveils digital expansion plans
The group also unveiled plans to add 1,000 online grocery pickup locations at its US stores

Shares in US retail giant Walmart Stores Inc (NYSE:WMT) nudged higher in pre-market as it  repeated its earnings guidance for the current year and announced plans to expand its growing digital presence.

The company confirmed it anticipates adjusted earnings per share (EPS) for fiscal 2018 to be between US$4.30 and US$4.40 per share.

For fiscal 2019 year, the group  expects earnings to increase around 5% compared to 2018 and, while net sales are expected to grow close to 3%, driven by same store and e-commerce.

The firm also unveiled plans to add 1,000 online grocery pickup locations at its US stores as the Asda owner expects its e-commerce business in America to grow sales by 40% for the 2019 year.

In the summer, the group had reported that online sales had surged a whopping 60% during the second quarter.

"It is clear that Walmart intends to continue to turn up the heat online," Charlie O'Shea, an analyst with credit rating and research giant Moody's, was reported as saying in a note.

"We still believe Amazon's lead in online retail is insurmountable, however Walmart continues to widen the gap between itself and all other brick-and-mortar retailers by leveraging its unmatched physical resources, including stores and supply chain, and in the process is providing consumers with a compelling online alternative to Amazon," he said.

Walmart shares added  1.43% to US$81.68 in pre-market deals.

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