Customers wearing face masks shop at a Walmart on July 15, 2020 in Washington, D.C.

Sha Hanting | China News Service via Getty Images

Walmart said Tuesday its second-quarter earnings got a boost as shoppers rushed in to spend their stimulus checks, while its online business continued to surge during the pandemic.

Walmart’s e-commerce sales in the U.S. shot up by 97% as customers had packages shipped their homes and used curbside pickup. The retailer’s U.S. same-store sales grew by 9.3% in the second quarter, fueled by purchases of food and general merchandise.

Shares was 1.6% higher in premarket trading after jumping by more than 6% at one point to reach an all-time high. 

Here’s what the company did in the fiscal second quarter ended July 31: 

  • Earnings per share: $1.56 adjusted, vs. $1.25 expected by Refinitiv’s consensus estimates
  • Revenue: $137.74 billion vs. $135.48 billion expected by Refinitiv estimates
  • U.S. same-store sales: up 9.3% vs. gain of 5.4%, expected by StreetAccount survey

In the second quarter, Walmart reported net income rose to $6.48 billion, or $2.27 per share, from $3.61 billion, or $1.26 per share, a year earlier.

Excluding items, the company earned $1.56 per share, higher than the $1.25 expected by analysts surveyed by Refinitiv.

Total revenues rose 5.6% to  $137.74 billion from $130.38 billion a year earlier, outpacing Wall Street’s expectations of $135.48 billion.

Walmart customers shopped less frequently, but bought more when they did. The average ticket rose by 27% during the second quarter, as transactions fell by 14%.

The retailer said it spent about $1.5 billion on costs related to Covid-19. During the pandemic, Walmart has hired more than 400,000 hourly workers to fulfill online orders, clean stores and stock shelves.

Walmart’s international net sales fell by 6.8% to $27.2 billion, as government-mandated closures during the pandemic limited shopping in India, Africa and Central America.

Sam’s Club membership increased by more than 60% in the quarter — the highest quarterly increase in more than five years. The warehouse club’s e-commerce sales grew 39% and its same-store sales rose 13.3%.

Walmart Chief Financial Officer Brett Biggs told CNBC that the retailer could get another bounce, if there’s further stimulus.

“Stimulus was definitely impactful to the consumer in the second quarter, and we’re watching what’s going on in Washington, and how we’re going to progress with a new stimulus package,” he said. “I think certainly it would be helpful for consumers.”

However, he said, families may pull back or spend differently during back-to-school season as students prepare to learn remotely or go to school just a few days each week.

Compared with previous years, he said, the pandemic “has made back-to-school a little more uncertain” and “a little more choppy.”

Walmart did not provide a financial outlook for the rest of the year. It withdrew guidance in the first quarter, saying that many factors could change its performance including additional government stimulus, the level of consumer confidence and the length of the pandemic.

— CNBC’s Bertha Coombs contributed to this story.

This story is developing. Please check back for updates.

Read the complete press release here.

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