Walmart Notches More Highs During the Pandemic

Walmart said it has been gaining significant ground over the course of a year of the still ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. 

The retailer said in its fourth quarter 2021 earnings release on Thursday that overall revenues for the year were $559.2 billion, a 6.7 percent increase, and that its U.S. e-commerce revenues increased 79 percent.

In the quarter ended Jan. 31,  revenues rose to $152.1 billion, a record haul the retailer said was a 7.3 percent increase from last year, while  comparable store sales increased 8.6 percent. The company’s online sales for the quarter continued to surge, this time rising by 69 percent.

The retailer’s consolidated operating income for the quarter was $5.5 billion, a 3.1 percent increase from last year, and adjusted earnings per share were $1.39. But overall Walmart also recorded a consolidated net loss for the quarter of roughly $2.09 billion. 

“This is a time to be even more aggressive because of the opportunity we see in front of us,” said Walmart chief executive officer Doug McMillon. “The strategy, team and capabilities are in place. We have momentum with customers and our financial position is strong.”  

The retailer said Thursday that it had spent $1.1 billion in the fourth quarter on COVID-19 related costs, and that it planned to continue raising wages for a number of employees in order to raise the average hourly wage for workers to above $15 an hour. 

Walmart employees who have been vocal about their working conditions have continued to emphasize the ongoing hazards of their work during the pandemic, telling the press about their ongoing workplace safety concerns including crowded aisles, especially during the holiday shopping season, having to deal with unmasked customers, and going without consistent hazard pay while the company makes record earnings.

On Thursday, Walmart also said it had approved a $20 billion share buyback program.

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