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Today In Retail: Walmart Earnings Up, Retail Sales Down And Retailers Face More Supply Chain Issues

In today’s top retail news, Walmart’s omnichannel strategy helped it ward off decelerating eCommerce sales and Delta variant concerns in the second quarter, while rising COVID-19 case counts and a surge in mask mandates caused July retail sales to slump. Also, retailers are likely facing 12 to 18 months of continued supply chain struggles, and Home Depot customers are spending more despite a decline in transaction volume.

Walmart Tells Shoppers ‘We’re Here For You’ As Omnichannel Retailer Neutralizes Delta Variant

Walmart largely benefitted from consumers’ increased vaccination rates in the second quarter, reporting higher-than-expected revenue and increased grocery sales despite difficult year-over-year comparisons and increased concern about the COVID-19 Delta variant. Officially, Walmart’s total revenue in the second quarter was $141 billion, up 2.4 percent year over year, with net sales of nearly $140 billion, up 2.2 percent. In the U.S., Walmart saw just over $98 billion in net sales, up 5.3 percent, and a 6 percent growth in eCommerce sales.

COVID Concerns Trigger 1.1 Pct Slump In July Retail Sales Amid Swirl Of Conflicting Factors

A month of rising COVID-19 case counts coupled with a surge in mask mandates and vaccine requirements took the steam out of a nascent shopping recovery as July retail sales tumbled 1.1 percent. The drop was led by a 4.3 percent drop in auto sales, followed by a 3.1 percent slump in non-store or online sales, and a 2.6 percent retreat in clothing and accessories.

Retailers Face ‘18-Month Struggle’ As Global Supply Chains Remain Tangled

Raj Patel, senior director of 3PL industry strategy at supply chain management company Blue Yonder, told PYMNTS that supply chain issues over the last 18 months and changing consumer preferences changed the way companies do logistical forecasting and planning, as historical data is currently not as useful as it once was. To overcome this, Blue Yonder has been stressing to clients that they need to “keep changing to stay current” and update systems to prepare for whatever comes next.

Home Depot Customers Make Few Trips, But Buy Bigger Items

The Home Depot said its customer transactions fell roughly 6 percent last quarter, but average spending rose 11 percent when consumers did shop. For the three months ending Aug. 1, the world’s largest home improvement retailer said it served 482 million customers in the second quarter, down from 512 million a year ago, with an average transaction value that hit $82.48 this year versus about $74 in Q2 2020.

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