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Walmart, Home Depot and Macy’s Report Strong Q1 Results as Retail Industry Turns Optimistic

Retailers across the spectrum posted exceptional results in the latest quarter as U.S. consumers continued shopping online at record levels, including preparing for the end of quarantine with more apparel purchases. Walmart’s Q1 2022 revenue rose 2.7% to $138.3 billion, bolstered by continued digital and grocery growth; Home Depot’s Q1 2021 sales surged 32.7% to $37.5 billion on the back of large basket sizes; and Macy’s turned a $103 million profit in Q1 2021 thanks to stimulus checks and the vaccine rollout.

Walmart’s biggest booster was online sales, which grew a healthy 37% across all channels. The retailer’s ecommerce sales have more than doubled over the last two years. Brick-and-mortar was healthy as well, posting 6% comparable sales growth, while the retailer’s grocery market share continued to climb.

“Every segment performed well, and we’re encouraged by traffic and grocery market share trends,” said Doug McMillon, President and CEO of Walmart in a statement. “Our optimism is higher than it was at the beginning of the year. In the U.S., customers clearly want to get out and shop. We have a strong position as our store environment improves and ecommerce continues to grow.”

Home Depot’s sales growth was driven by a 29.9% comparable store sales increase and an average basket size of $82.37, up 10.3% year-over-year. Additionally, the number of transactions grew 19.3% to 447.2 million. The growth could be attributed to shoppers’ continued interest in home improvement projects, which have been going strong for the past year with no signs of slowing down.

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The generally positive retail environment, especially compared to the difficulty of Q1 2020, led Macy’s to a significant comparable sales increase of 62.5%. Digital sales climbed 34% compared to Q1 2020, showing that the retailer’s omnichannel efforts may be paying off.

This is Macy’s second straight quarter of profitability, though it was lower than the $160 million reported for Q4 2020. The retailer credited its Polaris strategy, which has included layoffs and leadership shakeups amid the omnichannel transformation, as the reason for its recent success. The retailer expects its momentum to carry through as shoppers return to social outings.

“As consumers seek to re-engage with each other, we are seeing promising signs that our core customers are shopping again, and we continue to attract new customers, who increasingly begin their shopping experience with us online,” said Jeff Gennette, Chairman and CEO of Macy’s in a statement. “Customers are shopping categories that have been strong throughout the pandemic, including home, fine jewelry and watches, fragrance and luxury items. And we’re encouraged by the improvement we’re seeing in special occasion categories as customers begin to travel and return to a pre-pandemic lifestyle.”

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