Few retailers might be able to write the history book on navigating the coronavirus pandemic as well as Walmart Inc (WMT).
The first chapter has already been written and investors will get to see it when the nation’s largest retailer opens its first-quarter books this week.
It’s a multi-themed book, for sure, and investors might expect the ups and downs of any business thriller. Here’s a sampling of possible themes when WMT releases earnings Tuesday morning.
*Strong sales powered by a seemingly unprecedented amount of modern-day hoarding
*Managing the health of workers and shoppers in tandem
*The scramble to hire and fast-track training as many as 200,000 new workers—many of them coming from the furloughed restaurant and retail jobs—to keep stores and warehouses well-staffed
*The logistical challenges of shifting stores into distribution facilities and workers into new roles
*The costs of rewarding frontline employees, amplifying sanitation and cleaning routines, and reworking store footprints
*The new demands and costs related to the delivery.
And that’s just the high-level snapshot. The devil in those nitty-gritty details will likely tell the real tale of how WMT struggled to keep the homes of the masses well-stocked overtime under stay-at-home orders. It started with food, toilet paper, and hand sanitizer disappearing from the shelves and moved to purchases of puzzles and games to hair clippers and hair dye.
Was WMT a Winner?
In the COVID-19 world, most retailers have been hard hit by the pandemic. But WMT was not one of them. Taking status as an “essential retailer,” mostly because of its food and personal-use merchandise, WMT looked like a champ in another virtual horse race.
Walmart Earnings and Options Activity:
When results are released Tuesday morning, WMT is expected to report adjusted EPS of $1.12, down a penny from the prior-year quarter, according to third-party consensus analyst estimates. Revenue is projected at $130.31 billion, up about 5% from a year ago.
Looking at the May 22 expiration, put activity has been light overall, but heaviest at the 120 strikes. Calls have seen more activity, with concentrations at the 130 and 135 strikes. The implied volatility sits at the 35th percentile as of Monday morning.
Walmart LONG (Buy)
ENTER AT: 128.76