Has the pandemic transformed Walmart into an unstoppable force?
Walmart has long been one of the retailers noted for performing at a high level when facing down natural disasters and economic tumult. The same has remained true in recent months as the coronavirus pandemic has in some way disrupted the professional and personal lives of virtually every American.
The retailer posted a 10 percent gain in U.S. same-store sales during its first fiscal quarter as consumers loaded up on food, consumables, health and wellness products and some general merchandise categories. CNBC reports that Walmart’s comp results were nearly three percent above Wall Street expectations.
Walmart also benefited from a 74 percent jump in online sales during the quarter as its grocery pickup and delivery services were in high demand. The retailer’s performance during the quarter was double its results for the same period in 2019.
“More than ever, the news this quarter is our amazing associates,” said Walmart president and CEO Doug McMillon. “They are rising to the challenge to serve our customers and our communities. I’m proud of how they’re adapting and performing. Our omnichannel strategy, enabling customers to shop in seamless, flexible ways, is built for serving the needs of customers during this crisis and in the future.”
Last month, Walmart sought to build on its omnichannel advantage with the announced launch of Express Delivery, whereby customers pay $10 to receive groceries, general merchandise, electronics and toys category purchases within two hours. The retailer is expanding the service, which began as a 100-store pilot last month, to 2,000 stores.
Walmart, which had been offering a senior shopping hour in its stores since late March, added a daily pickup hour in April so older customers, first responders and others at-risk from COVID-19 can get their grocery orders.
In some under-the-radar news, Walmart announced that it was discontinuing Jet.com. The company pointed to the strength of walmart.com for the decision while crediting the Jet acquisition as being “critical to accelerating” its omnichannel strategy.
Walmart also said it was discontinuing earnings guidance going forward in light of business uncertainties created by the coronavirus pandemic.
- Walmart Releases Q1 FY21 Earnings – Walmart
- What has made Walmart a shutdown star? – RetailWire
- Walmart earnings soar as e-commerce sales double, shoppers flock to stores – CNBC
- Will Walmart’s customers pay $10 more to get deliveries in two hours? – RetailWire
- Will Walmart’s daily pickup hour for seniors cause operational challenges? – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Are you surprised at the size of Walmart’s sales increase during its first quarter? Do you think this type of year-over-year growth is likely to become the norm for Walmart while the pandemic continues and perhaps even beyond?