US goes online for pandemic supplies, many at Walmart.com

 Walmart Inc (WMT.N) posted its biggest-ever growth in online sales on Tuesday as shoppers placed orders for everything from electronics and toys to groceries from the safety of their homes amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Shares of the company rose 6% as the near-doubling of online sales in the second quarter helped it trounce Wall Street expectations for quarterly profit and same-store sales.

The results showed that the unprecedented spike in demand seen by big-box retailers at the peak of the lockdowns has remained strong even as restrictions ease, with shoppers using their stimulus checks to shop for discretionary items like sneakers and clothes.

For Walmart, its online business has been a bright spot, seeing rapid growth as it expands its same-day delivery options and pick-up services.

Walmart’s U.S. e-commerce sales rose 97% in the quarter. Sales at U.S. stores open at least a year rose 9.3%, excluding fuel, in the quarter ended July 31. Analysts had estimated a gain of 5.73%, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Operating income rose 8.5% to $6.1 billion in the quarter, while adjusted earnings per share of $1.56 also topped the average estimate of $1.25.

Total revenue rose from about 5.6% to $137.74 billion.