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    Friday, January 27, 2023

    Walmart, Home Depot fall short of expectations

    Shoppers walk outside a Walmart store in San Leandro, Calif., on May 13, 2021. MUST CREDIT: Bloomberg photo by David Paul Morris.

    Walmart's pandemic-driven gains in e-commerce slowed last quarter and profit margin fell, raising questions about the retailer's ability to maintain momentum even after it topped Wall Street's sales expectations. The company's U.S. online sales rose 6% in the second quarter, the company said, down from earlier in the pandemic, when soaring e-commerce demand routinely resulted in high double-digit gains. Online orders contributed only 0.2% to Walmart's U.S. comparable sales gain in the quarter, compared with 6% a year earlier.

    The deceleration took the shine off a broadly strong quarter, with a 5.2% gain in the chain's U.S. same-store sales, excluding fuel, topping the 3.1% average of analysts' estimates. Walmart also raised its full-year sales forecast, in part because of optimism over the crucial back-to-school shopping season.

    The results muddy the picture for investors trying to determine whether the retail industry's early pandemic winners will be able to hang onto gains following last year's demand for groceries, home goods and other items. Home Depot, which got a similar boost during the pandemic, also fell short of expectations.

    — Bloomberg

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