More Americans are starting to shop in stores again for everything from sports equipment to jewelry, Walmart Inc (WMT.N), Macy’s Inc MN> and Home Depot Inc (HD.N) said on Tuesday, as Covid-19 restrictions are easing and the U.S. economy is opening up.
All three retailers beat Wall Street’s quarterly sales estimates, bolstered by increased foot traffic and government stimulus checks that have fattened buyers’ portfolios. Visits to Walmart and Home Depot stores in April rose 21.7% and 23.6% respectively, according to Placer.ai, a data company that tracks foot traffic.
The already dated physical stores have struggled with sales over the past year, with the pandemic preventing people from leaving their homes.
Rising immunization levels have boosted footfall in stores, an encouraging sign as consumers shift to a post-pandemic lifestyle and start spending more on in-person activities, travel and events Macy’s CEO Jeff Ganette said on a call to discuss the results.
Walmart CEO Doug McMillon spoke of similar trends, saying customers wanted to go out and shop. The company on Friday became the first major retailer to reverse its mandatory mask rule for shoppers, a move that is likely to encourage more store visits.
After residential construction in the United States hit an almost 15-year high in March, The Home Depot took advantage of the rush of builders and contractors to stores to overcome a backlog of projects put on hold during the pandemic.
“It feels like stimulus is playing a bigger role in boosting sales, but the economic reopening is also a big underlying factor,” said Ken Perkins, retail statistics analyst. “We anticipate that the continued reopening with consumers returning to work and increased travel will be the main driver of strong retail sales as we progress through 2021 with improvements in physical traffic.”
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