Walmart profits surge 74% in online sales

Business

Walmart profits surge 74% in online sales

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

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NEW YORK, United States (AFP) — Walmart reported increased first-quarter profits yesterday following a surge in e-commerce sales for groceries and essential items from consumers stuck at home due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The world's biggest retailer said US e-commerce sales jumped a staggering 74 per cent in the quarter ending April 30.

Profits rose 3.9 per cent to US$4.0 billion on – an 8.6 per cent increase in revenues to US$134.6 billion.

Shares rose following the results, which topped analyst expectations despite higher costs.

Walmart paid special cash bonuses to line workers, equipped staff with safety masks and sneeze guards at checkout stations, and moved quickly to create or expand programmes such as curbside pickup and mail-to-home service for pharmacy sales.

The company said it was discontinuing Jet.com, which it acquired in 2016 as Walmart was building up its online sales business. The move reflects the “continued strength of the Walmart.com brand,” Walmart said.

The retail giant joined the large number of publicly traded companies to withdraw its annual profit forecast, citing “significant uncertainty” on the duration of the COVID-19 crisis and its effect on consumer confidence.

“Customers trust us to delivery on our brand promise, and I'm confident in our ability to perform well in almost any environment,” said Chief Financial Officer Brett Biggs.

“While the short-term environment will be challenging, we're positioned well for long-term success.”

Shares rose 3.7 per cent to US$132.50 in pre-market trading.


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