Customers exit a Walmart outlet in Chicago. AFP
Shares in the world’s top brick-and-mortar retailer rose as much as 3.4% and are up about 7% so far this year, outpacing Wall Street’s blue chip index, which is down nearly 14% for the year.
Walmart, like many other essential businesses, has seen a surge in demand late in March and early in April, with consumers limiting their trips to the grocers under “shelter-in-place” orders but stockpiling staples.
The retailer said that though demand for toilet paper, surface cleaners and groceries tapered off after initial hoarding, government relief payments helped boost sales in the second half of April.
“Toward the end of the quarter, another phase emerged, call it relief spending,” Chief Executive Officer Doug McMillon told analysts. He said sales have risen for categories for products needed for DIY projects, such as bandanas and sewing machines, while bicycles were also in greater demand.
Walmart executives said the stimulus checks have helped deliver a good start to the second quarter, but they did not expect spending to continue at the same pace.
The company offered little insight beyond that and pulled its forecast for the full year, citing uncertainty caused by the pandemic. Walmart’s online business grew 74% in the first quarter ended April 30, as its investments in store pick-up and delivery paid off at the time when demand for such services soared. That drove their sales volumes to records, with the number of new customers rising four times since mid-March.
Europe’s major stock markets retreated on Tuesday from the previous session’s rally, as traders banked profits, digested grim data and mulled coronavirus vaccine hopes.
India’s economy grew at its slowest pace in at least two decades last quarter, government data showed Friday, with warnings of far worse to come as it grapples with the fallout of the world’s largest coronavirus lockdown.
Walmart said that prices for shoppers would rise due to higher tariffs on goods from China as the world’s largest retailer reported its best comparable sales growth for the first quarter in nine years. Bentonville, Arkansas-based Walmart called out the impact of tariffs on consumers
The US economy unexpectedly added jobs in May after suffering record losses in the prior month, offering the clearest signal yet that the downturn triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic was probably over, though the road to recovery could be long.
Canadian plane and train maker Bombardier said on Friday it would cut 2,500 jobs, or about 11% of the workforce at its aviation unit, as the coronavirus pandemic’s crushing impact on the air industry adds to its long list of problems.
The COVID-19 pandemic has introduced unique market pressures and challenges across industrial sectors. In the context of the real estate industry in the UAE, the crisis interrupted a process of steadily building renewed growth.
Germany has become the second major European Union (EU) economy to use a multi-billion-euro recovery plan to spur clean driving, with incentives for electric cars that should boost Volkswagen (VW) and Tesla, while polluting sport utility vehicles (SUVs) face higher taxes.