Walmart is the nation’s largest grocer and private sector employer. So far, it has hired more than 400,000 employees during the pandemic to help the company stock shelves, clean stores and track orders online, according to a company spokesperson.
As Americans stay at home, they have turned to the big box retailer for groceries, toilet paper, and a wide range of items from bikes to hair coloring. The retailer’s sales exploded. Comparable store sales jumped 10%, and e-commerce sales in the United States rose 74% in the first quarter, ended April 30.
Customers also spend more when they shop. The company’s average ticket increased 16% in the first quarter, said chief financial officer Brett Biggs.
Walmart shares were recently trading around 1%. The stock, which has a market value of nearly $ 377 billion, is up 12% year-to-date. Last week it hit a 52-week high at $ 134.13.
During the pandemic, employees had to work to meet this high demand and put their health at risk. Some Walmart employees have fallen ill and died from Covid-19. A family of a longtime Illinois employee filed a wrongful death lawsuit in April.
Walmart has adopted a growing number of safety measures during the pandemic, including providing masks and taking workers’ temperatures. This week, he started requiring all customers to wear masks or face masks.
The retailer gave two other special bonuses to employees. All bonuses totaled $ 1.1 billion.
Walmart earned $ 14.88 billion on sales of $ 524 billion last year.
In Tuesday’s announcement, Walmart said its stores – and Sam’s Club warehouse clubs – would be closed on Thanksgiving Day to show workers their appreciation as well.
“We know that this has been a trying year and our associates have mobilized. We hope that they will enjoy a special Thanksgiving Day at home with their loved ones, ”said John Furner, president and CEO of Walmart US in a press release. “We are certainly grateful to our people for all of their efforts. “