Walmart ($WMT) is one of the few companies faring well during the Coronavirus pandemic, as people flock to the one-stop-shop hypermarket and purchase goods online. In the company’s earnings call today, it reported e-commerce sales grew by 74%, while same-store sales rose by 10% in the first quarter. And as Walmart’s sales grew, so did its costs.
According to chief financial officer Brett Biggs, Walmart spent around $900 million on Coronavirus-related expenses. Roughly 75% of that went to employee bonuses and expanded benefits.
Walmart hired 200,000 additional employees over the last few months to fulfill online orders and keep stores stocked and clean as demand continues to grow, as CNBC reports. The company’s LinkedIn employee headcount has grown 4% in just a few months, while the company's shares have risen more than 8% so far in an otherwise turbulent 2020.
With people willing to give away their firstborn for more toilet paper, Walmart isn’t exactly throwing around discounts. Walmart’s average count of items on sale has been dropping as sales surge, down 3% from March to April.
The average discount rate is falling in step, from 37% to 31%, as the stock continues to rise.
Facebook mentions of Walmart’s membership-based warehouse club, Sam’s Club, spiked as people stocked up on essentials. Sam’s Club same-store sales grew 12% in the first quarter, compared to less than 1% a year prior. E-commerce sales were up 40%.
Walmart’s earnings per share came in at $1.18, adjusted, for the first quarter, with revenue at $134.62 billion. Walmart reported net income rose to $3.99 billion from $3.84 billion a year earlier.
Walmart CEO Doug McMillon said his company “is selling in two or three hours what we normally sell in two or three days” when it comes to cleaning supplies like paper towels and surface cleaners.
“Not only have products and categories like hand sanitizer, disinfecting wipes and sprays, toilet paper, beef, and pork been hard to find but items such as laptops, office chairs, and fabric have been cleared out in some of our stores and online."
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