Walmart is still going strong during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, as consumers continued stocking up on food and home necessities, and also shopping online a lot more.
As the U.S. heads into what health officials warn will be a tough winter, with COVID-19 cases spiking again all over the country, Walmart posted strong revenues for the third quarter of fiscal-year 2021, with e-commerce sales surging again, this time by 79 percent.
In the three-months ending Oct. 31, the company’s revenues rose to $134.7 billion, a 5.2 percent increase from last year. The retailer’s consolidated operating income was $5.8 billion in the quarter, a roughly 22.5 percent increase. Its consolidated net income for the period was $5.14 billion, and its adjusted earnings per share were $1.34. Comparable U.S. store sales for the quarter increased by 6.4 percent, according to the company.
“We think these new customer behaviors will largely persist, and we’re well positioned to serve customers with the value and experience they’re looking for,” Doug McMillon, Walmart president and chief executive officer, said in the company’s earnings statement.
The number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. is climbing fast as the winter and the holiday season approach, with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention sounding alarm about the rise in cases and the importance of wearing masks.
The latest COVID-19 case numbers have risen to alarming highs. On Nov. 13, the CDC said that there were some 194,000 new cases the previous day. On Nov. 16, there were 166,045 confirmed new cases in the U.S., according to the ongoing daily Johns Hopkins University tally of COVID-19 cases. Overall this year, there have been more than 11.2 million confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S., and some 247, 202 deaths from the illness, according to the Johns Hopkins tally.
The sharp increases in the number of cases in the U.S. is already stirring fears among some of Walmart’s competitors of a return to the type of panic buying by consumers seen last spring that saw the shelves of many stores, including Walmart, empty. Food retailers Kroger and Wegmans earlier this week reinstated limitations on the number of paper towels and tissues that consumers could buy.
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