Walmart Supercenter in Houston. Walmart Inc. reports earnings Thursday, Nov. 15. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip, File)

INTERNATIONAL – Walmart reported better-than-expected quarterly US comparable sales on Thursday and raised its earnings outlook for the year as a strong economy boosted customer store visits and more grocery offerings helped e-commerce purchases.

The stock rose nearly 1 percent to $102.48 (R1462).

Sales at US stores open at least a year rose 3.4 percent in the third quarter, excluding fuel price fluctuations, higher than analysts’ estimates of a 2.87 percent increase, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Walmart has recorded over four straight years of US growth, unmatched by any other retailer. During the second quarter, it posted its highest sales growth in a decade.

E-commerce sales soared 43 percent, topping the 40 percent growth in the previous quarter. The retailer has said it is on track for e-commerce sales to rise by 40 percent this year.

The retailer suffered a setback in India on Tuesday when the chief executive officer of its Flipkart Group Indian e-commerce business resigned following an internal probe into accusations of “serious personal misconduct.”

The accusations followed an allegation of sexual assault, two people familiar with the matter have told Reuters.

Walmart paid $16 billion for a roughly 77 percent stake in Flipkart in May, its biggest acquisition and a major move in competing against Amazon.com.

Walmart’s quarterly total revenue increased 2.4 percent to $126.1 billion, excluding currency changes, beating analysts’ estimates of $125.56 billion.

Adjusted earnings came to $1.08 per share, beating expectations of $1.01.

Consolidated net income attributable to Walmart for the third quarter stood at $1.71 billion versus $1.75 billion a year ago.

Walmart raised its adjusted earnings outlook for fiscal year 2019 to $4.75 to $4.85 per share from $4.65 to $4.80. It also said it expects comparable sales, excluding fuel, to grow “at least” 3 percent, a change from “about” 3 percent earlier in fiscal 2019.

The company is trying to boost online traffic, including a website redesign, more grocery offerings and acquiring fashion brands aimed at millennial shoppers, who typically have avoided its websites.

Walmart has also been on a buying spree in the US online fashion sector, buying lingerie retailer Bare Necessities last week after purchasing plus-sized clothing startup Eloquii a week earlier.

Reuters