Breaking Business News | Breaking business news AM | Breaking Business News PM

Walmart ekes out an edge in groceries during the pandemic

21 May 2020

AS COVID-19 began to spread across America shoppers rushed to stock up on pasta, hand-sanitiser and loo roll. Other things equal, that should be good news for purveyors of these and other essentials. But other things are not equal: social-distancing restrictions have disrupted retailers’ supply chains and their operations. Amazon, whose e-commerce empire reported record sales in the first quarter, booked lower profits as a result of ballooning pandemic-related expenses. Could Walmart, with a quarter of America’s grocery market, 5,000-plus stores and 1.5m employees in America, including 235,000 temporary ones hired to cope with coronavirus-fuelled demand, cope any better with the pandemic?

On May 19th the answer came in Walmart’s earnings report for the three months to April. It was a resounding “yes”. Total revenue shot up by 9%, year on year, the highest rate in nearly two decades, to $135bn. Same-store sales rose faster still. The firm’s “omnichannel” sales, which combine online shopping with in-store pick-up, surged by 74%. Unlike Amazon, it also saw quarterly net income rise relative to the same period last year, by 4% to $4bn, despite nearly $900m in corona-spending (on things like “co-payments” for employee health bills, higher wages and bonuses for workers). The Arkansan behemoth is proving not only essential but nimble, too....

Read the full article here.
This content was originally published by The Economist: Business. Original publishers retain all rights. It appears here for a limited time before automated archiving. By The Economist: Business

Covid-19 – Johns Hopkins University

Download brochure

Introduction brochure

What we do, case studies and profiles of some of our amazing team.