Is the Covid-era shopping boom fading? On Tuesday Walmart Inc. reported U.S. online sales rose 6%, far slower than earlier in the pandemic when the company routinely posted high double-digit gains.
Walmart, along with other retail giants such as Target Corp., Home Depot Inc., and Amazon.com Inc. posted record-breaking growth for much of 2020 as lockdowns caused consumers to spend more money online. As some economies open up, analysts are questioning whether companies can hold on to last year’s gains.
These worries took the shine off a strong quarter for Walmart, whose sales beat analysts’ expectations. Shares were merely up about 1% this week despite the company raising its full-year sales forecast, in part because of optimism over the crucial back-to-school shopping season.
What’s next? “There is probably some caution” from Walmart investors, who had elevated expectations coming into this earnings report, Edward Jones analyst Brian Yarbrough said. It’s also not clear how retail sales performance will turn out once government stimulus wanes, he said.
Slowing Down Online sales growth at supermarket giant Walmart is stalling