Walmart sales surge as shoppers stockpile

Stockpiling by shoppers amid the lockdowns amped up sales at Walmart. The world's largest brick-and-mortar retailer saw quarterly same store sales jump 10% in the U.S. as consumers flocked to its stores and website. Online sales soared 74%.

Grocery pickup and delivery of food soared to record sales volumes. Demand was also high for electronics, toys and sporting goods.

To meet that higher demand, the company ramped up hiring, temporarily boosted wages and spent more on the maintenance, safety, and sanitation of its stores and fulfillment centers. Despite that, it managed to grow its operating income, and its adjusted profit easily beat analysts' estimates.

Still, the company withdrew its outlook for the full year, citing uncertainty stemming from the pandemic. But Walmart's CFO said the company was "well positioned" and was confident it could "perform well in most any environment."

Heartened by the results, investors went shopping for Walmart shares, driving them higher in early trading unlike those of fellow retailers reporting Tuesday. Kohl's reported a quarterly loss. Home Depot's profit dropped.