Walmart Stats Present a Snapshot of Pandemic

Sales surged, especially online, as Americans stocked up
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted May 19, 2020 10:15 AM CDT
Walmart Stats Present a Snapshot of Pandemic
A couple walks by a long line of shoppers waiting for their chance to get into a Walmart on April 4, 2020, in Wilkes-Barre, Pa.   (Dave Scherbenco/The Citizens' Voice via AP)

The pandemic has brought financial ruin to some retailers. Not so with Walmart, whose sales boomed in the quarter that ended May 1, reports CNBC. Overall, same-store sales were up 10%, but the details show how the coronavirus radically altered shopping patterns. For one thing, online sales rose a staggering 74% as customers opted to have items delivered to their homes or to pick them up curbside. For another, foot traffic in stores actually decreased, but spending per transaction rose more than 16%, per the Wall Street Journal. Translation: People made fewer trips to the store but loaded up when they ventured out to the nation's biggest retailer.

Another coronavirus factor: The chain reported $900 million in costs directly related to the pandemic, a total that included bonuses to all hourly workers, raises for warehouse workers, and the installation of shields at checkout lines, reports the AP. Despite that hit, Walmart still made a profit, with global revenue up nearly 9% and net income up 4%. Two other retailers reporting results Monday didn't fare as well: Home Depot had stronger sales, but $850 million in coronavirus costs resulted in a quarterly loss. And Kohl's, which shut down its stores, saw a loss of $541 million for the quarter and a 41% drop in revenue. (More Walmart stories.)

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