Walmart sees 'unprecedented demand' as coronavirus prompts consumer stockpiling

Digital sales soared 74% from a year ago

Walmart profit rose 3.9 percent from a year ago as the COVID-19 pandemic drove “unprecedented demand” for products including food and health care in the three months through April.

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The Bentonville, Arkansas-based retailer earned $3.99 billion, or $1.40 a share, as total revenue rose 8.6 percent to $134.6 billion in its first fiscal quarter. Excluding an unrealized tax gain, earnings were $1.18 a share, outpacing the $1.12 average of estimates from Wall Street analysts surveyed by Refinitiv. Sales topped estimates of $132.8 billion.

WHO IS DOUG MCMILLON?

“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,” CEO Doug McMillon said in a statement.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
WMTWALMART INC.122.48-1.38-1.11%

Comparable sales in the U.S. rose 10 percent, bolstered by food, consumables, health & wellness and some general merchandise categories. Online sales soared 74 percent year-over-year amid strength in grocery pickup and delivery services.

Walmart said its Jet.com business, which four years ago was acquired for $3.3 billion, will be discontinued. The retailer said Jet.com was "critical to accelerating" its omnichannel strategy.

WALMART ROLLS OUT EXPRESS DELIVERY AT MORE STORES DURING CORONAVIRUS

Walmart awarded $755 million of cash bonuses to hourly associates who worked through the pandemic, increased stock bonuses by about $170  million, increased pay by $2 per hour in fulfillment centers and implemented a number of safety measures.

The company raised its first-quarter dividend by 0.6 percent from a year ago to $1.50 a share. Stock repurchases fell 66 percent from the previous year to $700 million.

Walmart withdrew its fiscal year 2021 guidance due to uncertainty caused by COVID-19.

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The retailer's shares rose 7.5 percent year-to-date through Monday, outperforming the S&P 500's 8.57 percent decline.