How many personal buyers does Walmart have

Walmart increases sales despite the pandemic easing

By Sarah Nassauer

NEW YORK (Dow Jones) - U.S. retail giant Walmart's sales continued to grow in the spring quarter, albeit at a slower pace than when the Covid-19 outbreak began. Revenue from US stores and digital channels that have been in operation for at least twelve months increased 6 percent for the quarter ended April 30th, compared to the same period last year. US e-commerce sales grew 37 percent. It was the slowest online growth for Walmart since the coronavirus outbreak in early 2020 that turned the retail landscape upside down.

Non-food sales rose more than 20 percent in the quarter, supported by government stimulus programs as customers invested in leisure, home improvement, and clothing. Grocery sales fell year-over-year when customers hoarded some merchandise like groceries and toilet paper, but the retail giant gained shares in the grocery space year over year, according to Walmart.

Our optimism is greater than at the beginning of the year. In the US, customers clearly want to get out and shop, "CEO Doug McMillon said in a press release." The US stimulus has worked, and the second half of the year is more uncertain than a typical year. We expect the need to catch up to continue in 2021. "

Overall, Walmart's worldwide sales for the quarter rose 2.7 percent to $ 138.3 billion. Net income fell 32 percent to $ 2.7 billion, including losses on the sale of the UK and Japanese businesses and write-downs on the stake in Chinese e-commerce company Inc.

Walmart and other retailers face rising product prices, labor shortages, and new consumer trends as people's shopping habits change. US retail sales in April stagnated compared to March as retailers benefited from shoppers spending government stimulus packages. Restaurant sales rose in April, while sales in a number of retail categories such as furniture, sporting goods, apparel and general merchandise declined, according to US government data. That could leave a smaller sales cake for retailers selling goods.

Walmart is spending a lot of money to continue growing online and diversifying its business to include healthcare, financial services, and advertising in hopes of mimicking some of Amazon's financial model. In February, Walmart announced it expects $ 14 billion in capital spending this fiscal year, up from about $ 10 billion last year.

On Tuesday, Walmart raised its operating profit forecast for the current fiscal year, saying the company expects comparable US sales growth to be in the low single-digit percentage range.

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END) Dow Jones Newswires

May 18, 2021 8:57 AM ET (12:57 GMT)

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