Walmart crushed expectations and shares are exploding

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Walmart Increases Store Traffic, Earnings Beat

Walmart reported first-quarter profits and sales that were better than expected, unlike several other department stores that struggled to gain ground.

America's largest retailer earned $0.98 in adjusted earnings per share, beating the forecast for $0.88 according to Bloomberg.

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Its revenues totaled $115.9 billion, more than the $113.3 billion expected.

Walmart shares rose by as much as 9% in pre-market trading after the results crossed. Through Wednesday's close, they had risen 3% this year.

Comparable store sales — at Walmarts in the US open for at least one year — rose 1%.

"We are pleased to see the U.S. comp result, strong performance outside the U.S., membership trends in Sam's Club and EPS results versus guidance," said CEO Doug McMillon in the earnings statement.

"In addition, we are focused on building the ecommerce capabilities we need to drive growth to a higher level and deliver the seamless shopping experience for customers they desire."

That's an important move to make. After other retailers reported weaker-than-expected results last week, it became clear that their online strategies are not competing effectively with the likes of Amazon, as more consumers opt to shop remotely.

RELATED: Items you should always buy from Walmart

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Items you should always buy from Walmart (BI)
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Walmart crushed expectations and shares are exploding

Name-brand snacks

(Photo by Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Legos

The retailer beats out rivals Target and Toys 'R' Us when it comes to Legos deals, Regina Novickis of Slickdeals.com old Go Banking Rates. Other toys may be hit or miss, but definitely stick to Walmart when it comes to Legos.

(REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer)

Photo printing

Walmart is one of the cheapest and speediest options for printing photos, offering 4 inch by 6 inch prints for $0.09 via the home-delivery service. In general, Walmart is less expensive that drugstores that print photos across the board, with a 2013 report finding that Walgreens and CVS charge roughly 40% more than Walmart for the same basket of goods.

(Photo via Getty Images)

Seasonal produce

Walmart deeply discounts items that are in season, reports the Passionate Penny Pincher. Plus, if you see something that you know would be cheaper at Aldi, the store has to price match your weekly Aldi sales flyer. Visit early in the morning to get the best picks.

(Photo by Denise Taylor via Getty Images)

Disposable razors

Razors at Walmart are up to 50% less expensive than at drugstores, Coupons.com’s Jeanette Pavini told Go Banking Rates.

(Photo via Getty Images)

Upscale coffee

Walmart sells 12 ounces of Seattle's Best organic fair-trade coffee for just $5.65. That's less expensive than anything you can find onAmazon or Target.

(Photo via Getty Images)

Simple furniture

If you’re looking to save, you might want to consider ditching Ikea for Walmart, Lindsay Sakraida of DealNews.com told Go Banking Rates. You can find items like a simple student desks for half the price.

(Photo via Getty Images)

Party supplies

A dollar store may be cheaper, but Walmart tends to sell in larger quantities, reports the Passionate Penny Pincher.

(Photo by Anne-Sophie Bost via Getty Images)

Name-brand laundry detergent

Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Clothing basics

If you need true basics, Walmart has some of the best deals around for T-shirts, tanks tops, and socks, reports the Passionate Penny Pincher.

(Photo via Getty Images)

Regional favorites

To win over local customers, Walmart is working to bring in more local offerings,reports CBS News. That means brands like Blue Bell ice cream in Texas and Colorado Proud locally grown produce in Denver.

(Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Office supply basics

If there isn't a deal at Staples, buy your printer paper at Walmart. Tape, envelopes, pens, and pencils are also well-priced, according to the Passionate Penny Pincher.

(Photo via Getty Images)

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After last week's retail earnings from the likes of Macy's and Nordstrom, there were some concerns about whether consumer spending was slowing down.

But the strong retail sales report at the end of the week showed that the consumer is getting stronger. Some analysts also noted that public companies account for only a fraction of total spending.

Walmart said its ecommerce sales rose 7%, and gross merchandise volume — the dollar value of all transactions — increased 7.5% on a constant currency basis, yet this was "not as strong as we wanted."

Grocery sales fell at Walmart stores because of food deflation, the company said. But that was balanced out a bit by stronger traffic to stores.

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