Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is ahead of schedule on its plan to double the assortment of goods available on its website as the world’s largest retailer works to blunt competition from online rivals.
The assortment may be doubled by the end of the second quarter, earlier than its previous target of reaching the milestone by the end of the year, Joel Anderson, chief executive officer of Walmart.com in the U.S., said today in Bentonville, Arkansas, as the company prepares for its annual meeting tomorrow.
Wal-Mart is trying to boost sales in the U.S. as rivals such as Amazon.com Inc. and the dollar stores lure its customers. Online sales at U.S. retailers grew more than 17 percent between 2011 and 2012, more than four times faster than overall retail sales, according to research and consulting firm Kantar Retail.
Wal-Mart rose 0.5 percent to $75.61 at 3:36 p.m. in New York. The shares had gained 10 percent this year through yesterday, compared with a 13 percent increase for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index.