Walmart’s Sales Surge on Heightened Demand Amid Coronavirus

Heightened demand for essential products amid the coronavirus pandemic has given a significant boost to Walmart’s sales, according to documents viewed by The Wall Street Journal.

The exclusive report showed that the retailer’s in-store sales surged nearly 20% over the past four weeks compared with the same time last year. On its website, sales jumped more than 30% over the past eight weeks, while downloads of its online grocery mobile app have “skyrocketed,” according to the WSJ report.

Walmart’s quarterly net sales growth in the United States has often exceeded 30%: In the most recent three-month period, that figure was up 35%, while the quarter before that saw a 41% gain.

Due to its status as an essential retailer, the Bentonville, Ark.-based company has continued operating its stores — even in the states and localities that have been hit hardest by the coronavirus. It has seen a spike in demand as panicked shoppers load up on household goods and shop online instead of in stores, leading Walmart to announce plans to hire an additional 150,000 workers. It is also implementing pay raises for hourly employees at its e-commerce warehouses.

Despite the many uncertainties surrounding the health crisis, big-box chains like Walmart and rival Target have been pegged by analysts as good stock buys.

This week, Goldman Sachs suggested that such retailers seem well-positioned to withstand the crisis, both in the short- and long-term. The investment banking firm predicted that Walmart’s earnings would accelerate next year on e-commerce growth in grocery and other initiatives. On a 12-month basis, it estimated that Walmart shares would climb to $121, implying a 10% upside. (The retailer’s stock is currently trading at about $120.)

FN has reached out to Walmart for comment.

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