Walmart Q1 2021 international sales soared amidst unprecedented demand for products in grocery and across other categories, according to information Walmart has released in its earnings report.
In the U.S., Q1 comp sales grew 10 per cent while ecommerce sales hit a remarkable 75 per cent increase from the 37 per cent growth in the same quarter one year ago.
International sales, which includes Canada, grew 3.4 per cent to $29.8 billion. And while specific ecommerce sales for Canada were not noted in the earnings report, Horatio Barbeito, president and CEO of Walmart Canada, did acknowledge in an earlier statement that “online grocery continues to experience a very high demand both on Walmart.ca and with providers such as Cornershop and Instacart. Tens of thousands of orders a day are being fulfilled with more stores now offering pickup and delivery and additional timeslots opening up every day.”
As an essential retailer, Walmart has been able to keep stores open during the pandemic. As a result, it had a sales surge in the early weeks of the crisis as customers stockpiled groceries, hand sanitizer and toilet paper. Ecommerce sales benefited the most from this as customers opted to use online shopping, with many buying different kinds of items with the anticipation that they would be spending more time in their homes because of the outbreak.
“More than ever, the news this quarter is our amazing associates,” says Doug McMillon, president and CEO of Walmart in the company’s earnings release. “They are rising to the challenge to serve our customers and our communities. I’m proud of how they’re adapting and performing. Our omnichannel strategy, enabling customers to shop in seamless, flexible ways, is built for serving the needs of customers during this crisis and in the future.”
While Walmart witnessed significant sales growth in Canada and the U.S., it was also impacted by costs associated with enhanced wages and benefits as well as sanitary and safety measures.
In Canada, in addition to these measures, Walmart hired more than 10,000 people for its stores and distribution centres and enhanced its pickup and delivery service because of soaring demand.
Barbeito says the company has been continuously expanding and improving upon the services it offers its customers. Most recently, he said that Walmart Canada has introduced new services for its most vulnerable customers, including groceries by phone for eligible seniors, people with disabilities and those with health conditions; priority pharmacy access for hospital workers and first responders and providing groceries to hospital staff by delivering orders directly to hospitals where they work, “and we’re working to expand the program.”