Aug 18, 2020
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Walmart sales got a big boost last quarter as shoppers spent their government stimulus checks on home goods, electronics and lawn care products, the company said Tuesday.
Walmart's sales at US stores open for at least one year increased 9.3% to $93.3 billion during the three months ending on July 31, compared with the same stretch last year. Walmart's online sales boomed, growing 97%. Walmart's profit increased 79.4% to $6.4 billion.
The company, the largest retailer in the world, was deemed an "essential" retailer and stayed open throughout the pandemic, even as other retail chains and restaurants shut their doors.
While consumers have cut back on some discretionary spending during the pandemic, they continue to buy food and household goods. Walmart's grocery business makes up more than half of its sales.
"With significant operating restrictions for restaurants across the country, families continue to prepare more meals at home, and our business has benefited from that trend," Walmart CEO Doug McMillon said on a call with analysts. A "focus by customers on entertaining themselves at home and investing in their homes and yards" during the pandemic also drove sales, McMillon said.
But the pandemic has led to some increases in costs for businesses like Walmart. The company, the largest private employer in the United States, said it hired more than 500,000 new workers since the beginning of the year. Walmart said it spent $1.5 billion on coronavirus-related costs, including three cash bonuses for employees, during the quarter.
Retail analysts say the government's stimulus package and enhanced unemployment benefits of an additional $600 a week boosted Walmart's sales. The enhanced benefits expired at the end of July.