"Customers are still spending for the holidays. Halloween was very good for us, so I suspect that Christmas is going to be great," said Raul Vazquez, Walmart.com (NYSE:WMT)'s CEO recently.
While overall U.S. online holiday sales are expected to rise about 20% this year, Walmart.com's sales should jump between 40% to 60%. It would appear that the "Black Friday" Wal-Mart held the Friday after Halloween was a success and that momentum is carrying over.
Vasquez said that unlike past years, the retailer will post special deals on its Web site on Thanksgiving day. The selected items, many of which will only be available online, can be purchased through the Web site that same day.
Wal-Mart is also planning special online deals for what it is calling "cyber-week", the Monday through Friday after Thanksgiving. It will offer special deals on twice as many items as a year ago, and it will post new items on its site daily during those five days, he said.
They also have completed the roll-out of its "Site to Store" program, that now accounts for 1/3 of all online transactions. It allows customers to order products on the Web site and have them shipped to a local Wal-Mart store for free. Vasquez said of the program, "It has exceeded our expectations, we expect it to rise."
Wal-Mart is the place people turn to when times get tough and the consensus now is that they just may. That being said, Wal-Mart is out front with its online site and the integration of it to the stores on such a massive scale. Sears Holdings (NASDAQ:SHLD) has a similar program through its site but it does not compare to the Wal-Mart site in terms of ease of use and breadth of offerings. One drawback is that the K-Mart and Sears sites and the merchandise is not consolidated, causing the user to have to use both sites to find an item... not convenient.
Target, (NYSE:TGT) based on what I can tell does not have a site-to-store program, and that hurts them as it makes their site that much less convenient that the others.Wal-Mart reinvented the retailing experience and now they seem to be reinventing the retailing internet one as well.
Oh yeah.... If Lee Scott did not buy back at least $2 billion in stock the last quarter, time to go...