Walmart CEO Doug McMillon hinted its holiday season has started on a solid note.
“We think we are going to have a really good holiday season,” McMillon told President Joe Biden at a meeting of CEOs at the White House on Monday. McMillon, who appeared virtually, added that throughput of merchandise from clogged ports has started to improve.
Walmart shares fell slightly on Monday’s session as markets remained on edge regarding the omicron variant. Its stock was down 1% in the afternoon.
By and large, fear about the ongoing pandemic, and most recently the Omicron variant, doesn’t appear to have derailed the start to the holiday season.
U.S. retail sales during Thanksgiving weekend rose 14.1% from a year ago and 5.8% from 2019 (pre-pandemic), Mastercard SpendingPulse data revealed Monday. Sales in stores surged 16.5% year-over-year as shoppers returned to malls likely after being vaccinated for COVID-19. E-commerce sales for the holiday weekend rose 4.9% year-over-year, Mastercard SpendingPulse said.
The strongest categories for sales included apparel (up 51.2% from last year) and jewelry (up 78.4% from last year).
Meanwhile, Salesforce said in data of its own Monday that U.S. shoppers spent $13.4 billion on Black Friday, up 5% from a year ago. The best-performing categories for retailers included luxury handbags, furniture and general footwear.