Walmart reports higher profits on surge in online sales


Photo: CGTN

Walmart reported increased first-quarter profits Tuesday following a surge in e-commerce sales for groceries and essential items from consumers stuck at home due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The world's biggest retailer said US e-commerce sales jumped a staggering 74 percent in the quarter ending April 30.

Profits rose 3.9 percent to $4.0 billion on an 8.6 percent increase in revenues to $134.6 billion.

Shares rose following the results, which topped analyst expectations despite higher costs.

Walmart paid special cash bonuses to line workers, equipped staff with safety masks and sneeze guards at checkout stations and moved quickly to create or expand programs such as curbside pickup and mail-to-home service for pharmacy sales.

The company said it was discontinuing, which it acquired in 2016 as Walmart was building up its online sales business. The move reflects the "continued strength of the brand," Walmart said. 

The retail giant joined the large number of publicly-traded companies to withdraw its annual profit forecast, citing "significant uncertainty" on the duration of the COVID-19 crisis and its effect on consumer confidence.

"Customers trust us to delivery on our brand promise, and I'm confident in our ability to perform well in almost any environment," said chief financial officer Brett Biggs.

"While the short-term environment will be challenging, we're positioned well for long-term success."

Shares rose 3.7 percent to $132.50 in pre-market trading.