Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT), the world’s largest retailer, is scheduled to announce its Q1 fiscal 2013 earnings on May 17th. Wal-Mart’s earnings will provide important insights on the the current state of the U.S. retail industry. Investors will closely watch for updates on the company’s international expansion plans and online initiatives to fend off competition from online retailers. Wal-Mart competes with big retailers like Target (NYSE:TGT), Costco (NASDAQ:COST) and Best Buy (NYSE:BBY) as well as online retailers Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) and eBay (NASDAQ:EBAY).
Wal-Mart’s international segment has been a major growth driver for the company mainly since the economic crisis of 2008. Investors should look at key performance metrics like the international segment’s sales growth and margins. Last quarter, the international sales witnessed an increase of 13% compared to Q4 2011.
According to Trefis estimates, Wal-Mart’s international segment presently contributes approximately 40% to its present valuation. We believe over the coming years, with further expansion plans under way, this proportion could see an increase. This year, Wal-Mart plans to focus on its existing international operations, particularly in China and Brazil, rather than scouting new regions for growth.
Online and Other Expansion Initiatives
Like other brick and mortar retailers, Wal-Mart is also working toward strengthening its online sales, which still contributes a small portion to its overall sales. According to reports, Wal-Mart is collaborating with other retailers such as Target on developing a more advanced mobile payment system. Investors and analysts will be interested to know about Wal-Mart’s future initiatives in this regard, which could be a source of additional revenues in the coming years.