Major Retailer’s CFO Doesn’t Think Delta Variant is Affecting Consumer Shopping Behavior

Posted on

While many are worried and concerned about the Delta variant of the COVID-19 virus, one executive doesn’t believe it is affecting consumer confidence.

The world’s largest retailer, Walmart, believes consumer behavior is remaining stable. According to the company’s CFO Brett Biggs that is.

The CFO told Yahoo Finance, “We are not seeing a major shift in consumer behaviors at this point.” Biggs believes the drivers of consumer spending in recent quarters, a high savings rate and rebounding jobs market, remain intact and are helping to fuel the retailer’s sales.

He also highlighted that the back-to-school shopping season has started “strong.”

It was on Tuesday that Walmart revealed second quarter U.S. same-store sales rose 5.2% compared to forecasts of growth of 3.12%.

On a two-year stacked comparison, U.S. comp sales jumped 14.5%. Operating profit for the division saw a 10.6% increase in profits vs. a 2.4% improvement for sales.

Walmart also revealed that the month of July was the strongest performing month for its U.S. business. Sales increased in all merchandise departments.

The company’s Sam’s Club business saw same-store sales rise 7.7%.

CEO Doug McMillon said on the earnings call, “Since the pandemic began, we’ve been clear that our priority is the safety of our associates and those who shop with us. We think it’s important that as many people in the U.S. get vaccinated as soon as possible, and vaccines are made widely available around the world. As the Delta variant spread and as the potential for future variance persists, we made the decision to require our U.S. teams above store and club level to become fully vaccinated by October 4th. At the same time, we doubled the cash incentive to get vaccinated for our hourly associates in the U.S. to $150. We are grateful to those associates that are already vaccinated.”

He added, “I’m confident in the fundamental strength of our business, even as we navigate the benefits from the economic stimulus in the U.S. for both this year and last year. We’ve proven our ability to serve customers in challenging environments and across multiple channels, formats, and countries. The phrase “serving customers” has traditionally meant one thing at Walmart. But today it includes serving marketplace sellers, our advertising partners, and those that want to use our fulfillment services or proprietary software.”

Disclaimer: We have no position in any of the companies mentioned and have not been compensated for this article.