Walmart’s online sales up 74 percent as shoppers shelter in place
Walmart’s online sales increased by 74 percent in its first quarter as shoppers stayed home to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, according to the company’s report released Tuesday.
Walmart’s online shopping surpassed expectations, with strong sales for grocery pickup and delivery services, walmart.com and marketplace, as most people across the country were put under stay-at-home orders. The online sales came as customers rushed to stock up on canned foods and toilet paper.
Same-store sales also jumped 10 percent at U.S. stores, primarily with the selling of food and health and wellness products. The company’s total revenue reached $134.6 billion, an 8.6 percent increase from last year.
But the retail giant also reported $900 million in costs related to the coronavirus pandemic. All hourly workers split $755 million in cash bonuses and the company increased pay by $2 per hour for warehouse workers.
Walmart also spent money on emergency leave policy, shields at checkout lines and signage to regulate consumers in stores.
The company also withdrew its financial guidance for fiscal year 2021, in response to the “unprecedented variability” caused by the coronavirus crisis.
First quarter reports are starting to show the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic and the difference between stores permitted to stay open and those that weren’t. Home Depot also released the full financial impact of the virus, reporting strong sales and $850 million in additional costs.
Kohl’s, which was not allowed to stay open, lost $541 million during the first quarter, with revenue dropping 40 percent.
As a whole, retail sales fell 16.4 percent from March to April, according to the most recent government numbers. The country’s unemployment rate has also reached 14.7 percent, the highest since the Great Depression.