Investors got their first peak at big retail earnings on Thursday with Walmart Inc (NYSE:WMT) beating expectations on the top and bottom line, as its e-commerce business found its mojo. Children's Place Inc. (NASDAQ:PLCE), however, posted weaker-than-expected earnings for the first quarter, and investors punished the stock.
J.C. Penny (NYSE:JCP) also reported earnings on Thursday that missed analysts' expectations, blaming the declines on a cooler start to the spring season. Dillard's Inc. (NYSE:DDS), however, offered investors a rare alternative to woes in the retail sector.
Meanwhile, Home Depot Inc (NYSE: HD), is slated to report results close on the heels of Walmart, Macy’s, Children’s Place, J.C Penny and Dillard's.
On Wednesday, Macy’s Inc. (NYSE:M) was the S&P 500’s biggest gainer, rising more than 10% after reporting results that beat expectations. Macy's earned US$0.48 per share, which whizzed past analysts' expectations of US$0.36 per share.
Investors who had earlier sent up shares of Walmart by nearly 1% in morning trade quickly booked profits, while thumbing down Children’s Place by nearly 3% to US$138. JC Penny also tumbled more than 12% falling below $3 apiece on its poor earnings while Dillard's surged nearly 6.7% to US$76.75.
For the quarter ended March 31, Walmart posted earnings of US$1.14 per share on revenue of US$122.7 bn. The big box retailer handily beat the consensus earnings estimate of US$1.12 per share on revenue of US$120.1 bn.
Closer home, Walmart is getting big into online grocery delivery, challenging Amazon.
"Online grocery continued to accelerate and we had the new Walmart.com site redesign late in the quarter. We also have new brands in e-commerce including the partnership with Lord and Taylor, so there are a lot of different things driving growth there," Walmart CFO Brett Biggs, told CNBC after earnings.
The Walmart online grocery delivery service will eventually reach 40% of US households, the company said. Walmart plans to use about 800 stores to operate the service.
However, competition in online grocery continues to heat up with Amazon-owned Whole Foods announcing on Wednesday that it was introduced its new exclusive discounts for Prime members.
Cold takes better of Children’s Place
Children's Place posted weaker-than-expected earnings for the first quarter, as unseasonably cold weather kept shoppers away.
For the quarter ended March 31, Children’s Place posted earnings of US$1.87 per share on revenue of US$436.3mln. The company’s earnings were well below the consensus of US$2.21 per share on revenue of US$442.9mln. Revenue fell 0.1% compared to the same quarter a year ago.
Same-store sales fell 1.8%, below the consensus for a gain of 2.5%.
"Our ability to sell seasonal product in the first quarter was severely hampered by the combination of a record number of winter storms and the unseasonably cold temperatures that persisted across our major markets," Children’s Place CEO Jane Elfers said in a statement. Once the weather improved late in the quarter, "our sales turned aggressively positive," she said.
The company is still expecting fiscal 2018 adjusted EPS of US$8.20, compared with a consensus of US$8.16.
J.C Penny disappoints
J.C. Penney on Thursday reported sales that missed analysts' expectations, blaming the declines on a cooler start to the spring season.
For the quarter ended March 31, J.C. Penney reported a loss of US$0.22 per share on revenue of US$$2.58bn. The consensus estimate was a loss of $0.22 per share on revenue of $2.61bn.
Same-store sales rose 0.2% but this was also short of analysts' forecast for roughly 2% growth.
"Although our overall top line sales results came in below our expectations for the quarter, we were encouraged by the strong positive comp performance throughout February and March, as well as the last two weeks of April, when temperatures began to normalize," said J.C Penny CEO Marvin Ellison said in a statement.
Dillard's earnings beat
Dillard's reported first-quarter earnings of US$2.89 per share on revenue of US$1.5bn. The consensus earnings estimate was US$2.73 per share on revenue of US$1.5 billion. Revenue grew 2.6% on a year-over-year basis.
"Our positive sales momentum continued into the first quarter. We believe this indicates our customer is more comfortable spending in this economic environment, and we hope the positive trend continues," said Dillard's CEO William Dillard.
-- Updated with Dillard's earnings --