Walmart beats sales forecasts on stimulus spending boost

Shoppers poured into Walmart flush with cash from their stimulus checks, driving quarterly same-store sales sharply higher.

The world’s largest retailer reported Tuesday that sales at stores open at least a year rose 6%, crushing analysts’ estimates. And operating income rose by nearly a third.

Shoppers snapped up apparel and electronics. Walmart benefited from the surge in consumer spending fueled by the additional $1400 checks the government handed out as part of its massive relief package.

Increased vaccinations and the easing of restrictions encouraged more people to shop at its stores. Data firm Placer.ai says visits grew by nearly 22% in April.

But online sales growth slowed, rising at half the pace of the period a year ago.

Anticipating continued pent-up demand, Walmart raised its full-year earnings forecast. Still, CEO Doug McMillon warned that the second half would encounter more uncertainty than a typical year.

Walmart shares rose solidly in early trading Tuesday.

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