Shoppers piling up their lockdown needs helped Walmart come up with a super-charged quarterly sales and profit numbers. Image Credit: AP

Arkansas: Walmart Inc beat Wall Street expectations with its quarterly revenue and earnings, and reported record US online sales as stockpiling drove consumers to its stores and website during the coronavirus pandemic.

Walmart, the world's largest brick-and-mortar retailer, has seen a surge in demand late in March and early April as "shelter-in-place" orders made consumers stock up on staples while limiting their trips to the grocers. However, the company pulled its forecast for the full-year due to the uncertainty to its business caused by the pandemic.

Walmart's online business, which rose 74 per cent in the first-quarter, benefited from the retailer's investments in store pick-up and delivery services. It said the strength of its own online operation made it decide to discontinue, the online start-up it acquired in 2016 for $3.3 billion.

The business was undergoing an overhaul last year by integrating its retail, technology, marketing, analytics and product teams with Walmart's own online business.

Total revenue rose 8.6 per cent to $134.6 billion, beating analysts' estimates for $132.79 billion.

Pick up and deliver

The company added that grocery pick up and delivery for food and other consumables reached record sales volumes and also saw high demand for electronics, toys and sporting goods in the quarter. Overall, sales at US stores open at least a year rose 10 per cent, excluding fuel, in the first quarter ended April 30. 

Walmart has also been ramping up hiring, temporarily increasing wages and spending more on the maintenance of its stores and fulfillment centers as frustrations mount among US warehouse, delivery and retail workers over concerns about their safety and pay.