Fri. Dec 4th, 2020

By ANNE D’INNOCENZIO, AP Retail Writer

NEW YORK (AP) – Walmart marked another stellar quarter as the world’s largest retailer powers fell through an epidemic to other national chains.

Third quarter profits were up 56% and revenue was $ 133.75 billion, up 5.3%. Both were better that Wall Street had anticipated. Online sales increased nearly 80% after nearly doubling in the previous quarter.

Sales at the stores grew 6.4% in at least one year.

This is a promising sign for Walmart ahead of the upcoming holiday season and the quarter provides more evidence that its expansion into online grocery is widening the gap with rivals.

Still, the Bentonville, Arkansas, company faces increasing challenges from Amazon.com, which opened an online pharmacy on Tuesday that would challenge Walmart’s own business.

The potential impact of Amazon’s foray into Amazon’s pharmaceutical space immediately hit the sector. Before the opening bell rang, CVS Health Corp. Shares fell about 7%. Walgreens and Rite Aid declined 10%

Americans have relied on big box stores such as Walmart, Home Depot and Target, as well as Amazon, a lifeline during the onset of the epidemic. Because what they could offer, they remained open even when hundreds of other retailers were closed.

Customer loyalty has become even stronger since those locks were removed, but infections are on the rise again and this could cause another round of pain to most retailers.

Big box stores, however, will in all probability remain open and an aggressive push into online sales is making them even stronger during the holiday season.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This content may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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