Walmart Inc. (WMT) posted stronger-than-expected second quarter earnings Tuesday as online sales nearly doubled from last year amid the peak of the coronavirus pandemic.
Walmart said adjusted earnings for the three months ending in July were pegged at $1.56 per share, up 22.8% from the same period last year and well ahead of the Street consensus forecast of $1.25 per share. Group revenues, Walmart said, rose 5.6% to $137.7 billion, a figure that again beat analysts' estimates of a $135.37 billion tally.
Walmart said e-commerce sales rose 97% from last year as the group introduced curbside pickup for online orders during the peak of the coronavirus pandemic. Comparable sales in the U.S., Walmart said, rose 9.3%, and nearly 10% once fuel sales were stripped away.
"I want to give a big than your to our associates for their tireless efforts during these unprecedented times," said CEO Doug McMillon. "We also appreciate the trust and confidence of our customers. We remain focused on serving them well now and expanding our set of global capabilities to serve them well in the future.”
Walmart shares, which closed at a record high $135.60 last night, were marked 0.5% higher in early trading following the earnings release to change hands at $136.32 each.
Earlier Tuesday, Home Depot (HD) smashed Wall Street forecasts for its own second quarter earnings with a bottom line of $4.02 per share and sales of $38.1 billion, a 27.75% gain from the same period last year.
Last week, the Commerce Department said U.S. retail sales rose for a third consecutive month in July, with a record dollar volume of $538 billion. The pace of gains, however, slowed to 1.2% -- from an 8.4% advance in June -- as consumers pared back purchases ahead of the expiry of the $600 weekly unemployment benefit, which ended in the final week of July.
Walmart noted that “as stimulus funds tapered off, sales started to normalize, but July (comparable sales) still grew more than 4%.”