Want to know what the future of Wal-Mart looks like? Take a look at the retailer's fiscal first-quarter earnings results, and you'll get a good indication of where it's headed.
The world's largest retailer on Tuesday disappointed on both the top and bottom lines, but it wasn't all bad news. Two of Wal-Mart's key growth initiatives showed solid growth momentum in the February through April period, proving investments in its smaller stores and the Web are bearing fruit.
The company also cited progress in its massive grocery unit, an area that one year ago topped several analysts' list of gripes. And after last quarter's traffic gains—the first period it trended positive on this metric in more than two years—Wal-Mart again saw more shoppers in its stores in the first quarter, with same-store sales ticking higher in unison.