By Sarah Nassauer
Walmart Inc.'s quarterly sales rose at a slower pace than earlier in the coronavirus pandemic even as shoppers continued to buy up food and cleaning supplies and the retailer pushed early holiday deals.
Comparable U.S. sales, those at stores or digital channels operating for at least 12 months, rose 6.4% in the quarter ended in late October. It was a third consecutive quarter of strong growth, though below the prior two quarters. E-commerce sales in the U.S. jumped 79% and accounted for much of the latest quarter's gains.
In the U.S., shopper traffic decreased 14.2%, while the value of the average shopping trip increased 24%. People are making fewer trips to Walmart stores, shifting more spending online and stocking up when they do go to stores, the company said. Sales of groceries, paper goods and household cleaning supplies helped boost sales. Demand for parking lot pickup services or home delivery increased.
"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," Walmart CEO Doug McMillon said.
Coronavirus has upended the retail landscape, allowing some retailers to thrive as more spending shifts to household basics and home improvements. Others such as department stores and apparel retailers have been hurt by temporary closures early in the pandemic and people buying less clothes for work or going out.
On Tuesday, Home Depot Inc. said its comparable sales jumped 24.1% in the third quarter, after reporting sales up 23.4% in the second quarter. Shoppers stuck at home are using money typically spent on restaurants or travel to spruce up their surroundings. Competitor Lowe's Cos. reports earnings Wednesday.
Shares of Walmart rose 2% in premarket trading while Home Depot fell nearly 2%. Both shares have climbed more than 25% so far this year.
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(END) Dow Jones Newswires