Walmart and Asda see sales improve thanks to surge in online demand

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Asda and US parent Walmart Inc (NYSE:WMT) have both reported increased sales in the past quarter as they reacted to huge rises in demand for online shopping.


Total group LFL sales in the US were up 6.4%, with online sales surging 79%, enabling a 22.5% increase in group net profits to US$5.8bn.


Asda increased like-for-like sales 2.7% in the third quarter of 2020 after the first UK-wide lockdown ended and the grocery sector faced renewed competition from restaurants, pubs and other food and drink outlets.


Online revenues drove the performance, with sales of groceries, back to school clothing and other online shopping up 72% year-on-year from Asda.com and George.com.


Asda, which parent Walmart is selling for GBP6.8bn to a UK consortium made up by the billionaire Issa brothers and private equity firm TDR Capital, has increased the capacity of its grocery home shopping service to 765,000 weekly slots and has extended its delivery partnerships trial with Uber Eats from 50 to 100 stores.


Including fuel sales, which have cratered during the pandemic, Asda’s net sales were down 0.6%, with individual transactions tumbling 22.5%.


But Walmart said Asda has seen a surge in demand for key Christmas products as customers were stocking up earlier than in previous years.


Roger Burnley, Asda’s chief executive, said: “After a rollercoaster year it’s clear our customers are already planning for a very different Christmas. We have already seen a marked shift in buying patterns with customers stocking up their freezers and cupboards with festive essentials earlier than ever before, which suggests they are getting used to expecting the unexpected but preparing to enjoy themselves as much as possible.”

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