Walmart Canada’s online sales increase 229% amid pandemic

Walmart Canada saw its e-commerce net sales increase 229% in its most recent quarter. (Getty)

Walmart Canada’s e-commerce net sales rose 229 percent in the last quarter, the strongest growth in the company’s international markets, ending an unprecedented year for the world’s largest retailer.

Walmart Canada’s net sales rose 8.6 percent in the 13-week period ending Jan.31, the company revealed Thursday. Comparable sales, a key metric in the retail industry, also jumped 8.6 percent, largely on strong sales in the food and online grocery categories.

Horacio Barbeito, president and CEO of Walmart Canada, said several investments made throughout the year helped boost the company’s online sales.

“We deployed pickup capabilities in over 70 stores just in (Q1) to reach 300 stores so customers could order online and pick up in-store without leaving their cars. It was a transformation,” said Barbeito in an interview.

“Our marketplace has also increased the number of third-party sellers, and we have hired 4,500 people to respond to the increase in the number of online sites.

Walmart Canada – considered an essential retailer – remained open during the pandemic shutdowns that hit many parts of the country during the holiday season, which angered some business groups such as the Canadian Federation of independent business.

Walmart on Thursday reported better than expected sales results, driven by strong growth in e-commerce. Walmart’s overall online sales grew 69% in the quarter, surpassing a 35% increase over the same period last year, but less than the 79% increase seen in the third quarter.

But the company’s shares were down nearly 6% as of 2 p.m. ET on Thursday, as the company forecast moderate growth in 2021 in the lower numbers.

Regarding Walmart Canada’s performance for the next fiscal year, Barbeito said he was “cautiously optimistic” and that the company was preparing to handle what it expects to be an increase in pent-up demand for. certain product categories, including outdoor living and fitness.

“Everyone bought a laptop or a tablet last year, and it’s going to be a performing category, but it won’t be as big as it was last year,” he said. “But we’ll have the opportunity to really tackle other categories of recreation that customers are looking for.”

Over the next year, Walmart will also continue its $ 3.5 billion investment plan to build two new distribution centers and renovate more than 150 existing stores. Barbeito said the company plans to spend $ 700 million in 2021 on new distribution centers and will renovate 58 stores.

As part of the $ 3.5 billion investment, Walmart Canada introduced new infrastructure and e-commerce fees on suppliers, measures denounced by various groups in the food industry, agriculture and industry. of transformation. In a joint statement, the associations called on the government to introduce a code of practice for the procurement of groceries. Canada’s federal, provincial and territorial agriculture ministers are studying increased retail fees for suppliers and will release a report in July.

Asked about the government’s decision to study the fees, Barbeito said the company respects the initiative.

“I think this is just a common global practice between the supplier community and retailers, just like when suppliers see cost increases due to (the cost) of raw materials, investments in infrastructure. or brand repositioning, ”he said of the fees.

Alicja Siekierska is a Senior Journalist at Yahoo Finance Canada. Follow her on twitter @alicjawithaj.

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