Walmart’s online sales soar as shoppers splurge with stimulus checks

Walmart said its online sales nearly doubled as locked-down consumers armed with stimulus checks stocked up on everything from milk to clothing during the pandemic.

The world’s biggest retailer’s online sales spiked 97 percent in the most recent quarter ended July 31, with customers increasingly picking up their web-ordered groceries in the store parking lot, the world’s biggest retailer said Tuesday.

Sales at US stores open at least a year jumped 10 percent, blowing past Wall Street’s forecast of 5.9 percent, according to FactSet. Total revenues grew by 5.6 percent to $137.74 billion. 

Fresh and frozen deli products including meat and seafood surged in the low 20 percent range, Walmart said, while comparable sales of home goods and apparel grew in the low-double-digit range.

Walmart said that while its US traffic fell 14 percent during the quarter, the average amount customers spent each trip jumped 27 percent.

“Customers continued to consolidate store shopping trips,” the company said, “and shifted more purchases to e-commerce.”

The eye-popping growth, however, began to slow in late July, when the $600-a-week federal boost to state unemployment checks began to dry up, Walmart said. Congress is trying to hammer out a new benefit package.

“As stimulus funds tapered off, sales started to normalize, but July comps still grew more than 4 percent,” the company said. “With government stimulus spending, we saw increased sales of higher margin general merchandise categories and fewer markdowns.”

Shares of Walmart were down by less than 1 percent in morning trading. 

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