E-commerce sales soar at Walmart by 79%

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Walmart reported third-quarter earnings on Tuesday that topped Wall Street’s expectations as customers continued to shop online and sent U.S. e-commerce sales soaring by 79%.

The discounter said customers are embracing the new ways of shopping they adopted during the global health crisis. As the holiday shopping season begins, instead of browsing store aisles, more of them are shipping purchases to their homes, getting groceries dropped off at their doors, or picking up online purchases by the curbside.

Walmart did not provide an outlook, but the company’s CEO Doug McMillon said the popularity of online shopping services will not fade away.

“We’re convinced that most of the behavior change will persist beyond the pandemic and that our combination of strong stores and emerging digital capabilities will be a winning formula,” he told investors on an earnings call. “Customers will want to be served in a variety of ways and we’re positioned to save them money, provide the variety of product choices they’re looking for, and deliver the experience they choose at the moment.”

And, he added, the retailer had a strong quarter, despite “an unusual and softer back to school season and less benefit from government stimulus spending versus the first half of the year.”

He said the rising number of Covid-19 cases across the country “reminds us we must be vigilant” and urged elected officials to work together to help small businesses.

Walmart has been one of the beneficiaries of stay-at-home trends during the pandemic — a trend that continued in the most recent quarter, even without a boost from government stimulus dollars. Since the spring, Americans have turned to its stores and website for groceries, cleaning supplies, and items to pass the time, from puzzles to bicycles.

The company has hired over half a million new employees this year.

Walmart Chief Financial Officer Brett Biggs said the shift in purchasing patterns at the start of the pandemic amounted to “three to five years of acceleration in e-commerce, really in a period of weeks and months.”

But, he added, “people are still going to want to stop and shop at stores longer term so we like the combination of those assets.”

Source: CNBC.com