Oct 20, 2021 - Business
Walmart sets a stage for its seasonal sales
Shoppers walk in front of a Walmart store in San Leandro, California in May.
Shoppers walk in front of a Walmart store in San Leandro, California in May. Photo: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

As temperatures cool, and savvy shoppers turn their thoughts toward the holidays, Walmart is laying groundwork for what it hopes will be a successful sales season.

What's happening: The retailer has made announcements to assure consumers the products they want will be convenient to shop for and in stock.

Why it matters: Walmart fell behind Amazon in sales for the first time this year. The pandemic drove consumers' desire to have more household items delivered — a habit that may stick.

  • Walmart will be looking to retain and win back customers during the holiday sales cycle.

Context: Despite rising prices, supply chain issues and raw material shortages, national retail sales were up for the second month in a row.

  • Total retail sales grew 0.7% in September from the prior month, despite consensus estimates for a decline of 0.2%.

Worthy of your time: Three initiatives WMT has announced ahead of the holiday season:

  1. Supply chain — Walmart said in a recent post it is working with vendors to source products early. The company also chartered its own ships in some cases and is diverting some of those to less congested ports. Walmart has hired more than 3,000 truck drivers this year, and it plans to hire 20,000 in permanent supply chain roles.
  2. Text-to-shop pilot — Walmart is forever trying to make the shopping experience easier. Technology will allow shoppers to add items to their Walmart app by voice or text. A beta test of text-to-shop has started. Consumers using Android can enroll in the beta now, and those using Apple will be able to soon. The company has at least eight open positions for what it calls "conversational commerce."
  3. Black Friday — To avoid near-riots in some of its stores, last year Walmart spread its Black Friday deals over several days. It will do so again this year, designating Event 1 as Nov. 3 online and Nov. 5 in stores; Event 2 as Nov. 10 online and in stores Nov. 12; and Event 3 at dates to be determined. Walmart+ members will qualify for early access and special deals.

Of note: Outdoor equipment and lifestyle retailer, Moosejaw, which is owned by Walmart, will open a 6,000 square-foot store tomorrow — only its 12th physical location — at 111 S. Main St. in Bentonville.

Editor’s note: Reporter Worth Sparkman is a Walmart shareholder.

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