Amid coronavirus, Walmart says it's seeing increased sales of tops — but not bottoms

Daniel Roberts

While millions of Americans are working from home amid the spread of coronavirus, remote work applications like Slack (work chat groups) and Zoom (video conferencing) are seeing a huge surge in users.

And that’s boosting clothing sales for Walmart—but mostly of tops. Get it?

That fact comes from Walmart’s EVP of corporate affairs Dan Bartlett on Yahoo Finance live on Thursday. “In one of your previous segments you were talking about people with Zoom, and doing those types of conferencing: We’re seeing increased sales in tops, but not bottoms. So, people who are concerned, obviously, from the waist up,” Bartlett said. “These behaviors are going to continue to change and evolve as people get accustomed to this new lifestyle, if you will. And we’re able to accommodate that, both online and in our stores.”

Video conference. (Zoom)

Bartlett said Walmart (WMT) is seeing “massive volume” right now in U.S. online orders and, in some states, in-store sales as well. “That will probably ebb and flow based on the news” in each state, Bartlett allowed. Walmart, like Target and Kroger, is also taking drastic steps in its stores to sanitize cash registers and keep customers six feet apart from each other in checkout lines.

In addition to tops and cleaning products like Purell, Bartlett says Walmart is seeing a specific sales boost in home entertainment items like DVDs (they’re not dead yet), and crafting items like popsicle sticks.

“I think we’ve sold over 30 million popsicle sticks,” Bartlett says.

COCONUT CREEK, FL - MARCH 12: Shoppers stock up on groceries as they shop at Walmart during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak on March 12, 2020 in Coconut Creek , Florida. Credit: mpi04/MediaPunch /IPX

While non-essential retail chains like Nike, Adidas, Lululemon, REI, Urban Outfitters, and many more have closed all their U.S. stores to quell the spread of coronavirus, Walmart is among the chains remaining open, since they sell groceries and medicine. Target, CVS, Walgreens, and many grocery chains also remain open.

While many big companies have been forced to lay off millions of workers, Walmart last week said it planned to hire 150,000 new hourly associates in the U.S., and announced $550 million in cash bonuses to reward workers amid the coronavirus pandemic that has all but shut down the economy.

Walmart was already considered one of the stocks that might see a boost during coronavirus, along with Costco, Clorox, and “stay-at-home” plays like Peloton, Slack, Zoom, and Netflix.

Nonetheless, Walmart shares are down 10% over the past five trading days, and down 4% in the past month.

Daniel Roberts is an editor-at-large at Yahoo Finance. Follow him on Twitter at @readDanwrite.

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