The evolution of retail continues amid shifting consumer habits accelerated by the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Walmart reported its second quarter earnings today (the company is in fiscal year 2021) with total revenue of $137.7 billion, a 5.6% increase over the same period last year. Same-store comp sales were up 9.3% with strong growth in grocery and general merchandise. Walmart’s e-commerce sales grew 97% in the second quarter with growth across all channels.
Sam’s Club, which is upping its toy game to include more than 50 exclusive items this holiday season, experienced a 13.3% increase in sales for the quarter. E-commerce sales at Sam’s Club grew 39%. Quarterly membership sign-ups increased 60% for the largest gain in five years.
The company is currently in the midst of its seasonal resets to several departments, including toys and games. Additionally, the company is in the midst of a unique Q3 marked with an unpredictable back-to-school season and will soon face hard-to-gauge holiday sales.
Walmart President and CEO Doug McMillon says that the current back-to-school season “was negatively impacted by the health crisis in terms of timing and demand.” The company also notes an increase in bigger purchases for at-home learning such as computers and desks versus the usual classroom supplies.
“We’re in the midst of the beginning of back-to-school … so we’re carefully thinking through each of the different holidays and how they may change as a result of what’s happening, but even like with schools, we’re still learning day-to-day, which schools are open or planning to open, and I think everyone in the holidays that will be experienced over the next couple months will have to decide as we get closer,” says John Furner, president and CEO of Walmart U.S. “The team is really working on plans and contingency plans and making sure that we are ready for the customer any way they want to shop, they’ve shifted purchasing online, you can see that in our online results of 97% and with the growth of pickup, we’ll make sure that we’re ready with both of these types of fulfillment options in addition to store shopping, so however the customer wants to shop will be ready.”