COVID Retailing-Winners & Losers. Click & Collect Curbside Way Up

The Economist November 21, 2020 pp58 |Business|Walmart|”Beastly earnings” “The pandemic is producing clear winners and losers among America’s retailers.


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Data Presented

Retail sales (% Change YOY). American retail sales were at 5% YOY in November 2019 then hit bottom by April 2020 after the onset of the pandemic at -20% but surged back in June to 2% and were at 5% in September but now have grown just 0.3% last month on a month-over-month basis-“the slowest in a half a year.” When looking at Walmart online sales still represent only 8% of sales but have grown and were positioned for the pandemic rise in online and curbside. In general, with the pandemic, curbside has doubled and “click and collect” is up 50% from prior year.

Summary of Article

Walmart (Up 5% for Q3 YOY for $135B, same store up 6.4%), Target (Operating profit doubled to $1.9B) and Home Depot (Up 23% YOY for Q3 to $33.5B) are reported as winners so far in the pandemic having been able to leverage global supply chain and in the case of Walmart and Target being a one-stop shop. Walmart buyers make few trips but buy more. Others like Kohl “reported falling revenues.” “By doubling down on digital, Walmart is taking on Amazon’s e-emporium.” Amazon is responding by opening its digital pharmacy to compete with Walgreen, CVS and Walmart with “4,000 of its big-box stores” selling prescriptions.