Walmart’s customers do not expect a quick economic recovery, says the top executive

Shoppers wear masks while shopping at a Walmart store in Bradford, Pennsylvania, July 20, 2020.

Brendan McDermid | Reuters

Walmart’s chief customer officer, Janie Whiteside, said Tuesday that many shoppers do not expect the economy to recover quickly from pandemic.

Nearly half of the customers surveyed in November told Walmart that they were concerned about the current health of the economy, she said while speaking at the virtual conference of the National Retail Association. And 40% said they did not expect “any kind of speedy recovery”.

“Our primary customer at Walmart is not completely immune to the economic slowdown, in fact it may be affected disproportionately,” she said, noting that the epidemic has bifurcated society because it affected some industries such as hospitality and not others.

Walmart’s sales and profits soared during the pandemic, as customers turned to more than 4,700 US stores and its website to buy groceries, hair color, puzzles, and more. It Same-store sales are up 6.4% and e-commerce sales in the U.S. are up 79%. On an annual basis in the fiscal third quarter ending October 31. The company has yet to announce its fourth-quarter earnings, which includes the holiday shopping season.

However, Whiteside said the company understands that customers are feeling cash strapped as they try to put food on the table and reconcile other expenses, such as school supplies for their children. “The crowd around that group of customers who need us more than ever is the fuel that keeps Walmart going,” she said.

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“We know they’re continuing to look for ways to save money on basic items, so whether that’s looking to switch from a national brand to a private brand, looking at smaller package sizes, cherry picking deals when they’re available,” he said. “We also know that they continue to make sure they don’t have to sacrifice expertise for the sake of their families, so they’re looking for where they can balance the wallet.”

On Monday, Walmart announced it Create a startup in the financial technology field With the venture capital firm Ribbit Capital. She did not share the services she might launch, but she said it would be accessible to everyone. Walmart already offers some financial products like prepaid debit cards to customers who have poor credit history or don’t have a relationship with a bank.

Walmart’s plan to open health clinics is also geared towards affordability. Clinics It offers lower prices They are listed in advance and can be paid out of pocket, like $ 30 for an annual exam or $ 45 for a counseling session.

“In these times, when everyone has a lot on their minds, we also know that saving time and some kind of raising that cognitive burden for people is also on top of that,” she said.

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