Walmart CEO: Consumers are stocking up again as coronavirus rages on

Brian Sozzi
·Editor-at-Large
·2 min read

The third wave of cupboard stock-up may be underway for U.S. consumers as COVID-19 infections pick back up across the country.

Whether that leads to a fresh wave of toilet paper and disinfecting wipes out of stocks this winter like those seen in March is the great unknown right now.

“Things are getting better, but we have a ways to go to recover. It will be choppy for months to come as we all deal with the volatility and as things change,” Walmart CEO Doug McMillon said of product out of stocks at the Yahoo Finance All Markets Summit. Working closely with key suppliers to keep shelves stocked is of the utmost importance for Walmart, McMillon said.

“Today there has been some leveling out, but with the case counts coming back up there are some areas we see stock-up behavior again locally,” said McMillon of current consumer behaviors,

FILE - In this April 24, 2019, file photo a Walmart associate arranges items on a shelf at a Walmart Neighborhood Market in Levittown, N.Y. Walmart Inc. reports earnings on Thursday, May 16. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)
FILE - In this April 24, 2019, file photo a Walmart associate arranges items on a shelf at a Walmart Neighborhood Market in Levittown, N.Y. Walmart Inc. reports earnings on Thursday, May 16. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)

Consumers continuing to keep their homes stocked with essentials such as cleaning products and frozen food have led to some big quarterly reports from consumer staples this month. The likes of Conagra Brands (frozen food), Procter & Gamble (cleaning products), PepsiCo (soda and chips) and Kimberly-Clark (paper products) all reported strong sales gains in the U.S. for their most recent quarters. Sales and profit outlooks have skewed bullish on the view that demand will stay strong into year-end.

The recent trend in COVID-19 infections underscores the renewed re-stocking movement.

The U.S. has hit a new high in the number of daily COVID-19 infections, according to an analysis done by Time. It has surpassed the peak reached in mid-July. The country also marked a new single-day record of infections on Oct. 23.

Here is what Dr. Anthony Fauci said about the pandemic at the All Markets Summit.

Brian Sozzi is an editor-at-large and co-anchor of The First Trade at Yahoo Finance. Follow Sozzi on Twitter @BrianSozzi and on LinkedIn.

What’s hot from Sozzi:

Watch Yahoo Finance’s live programming on Verizon FIOS channel 604, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Roku, Samsung TV, Pluto TV, and YouTube. Online catch Yahoo Finance on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Flipboard, SmartNews, LinkedIn, and reddit.