1. Trends & External Forces

Daily QuickWit (2/17) – Top Retail News of the Day

Happy Friday eve, here are the top stories we are talking about over our favorite adult beverage right now…

Walmart has record-setting 4th Quarter

Walmart had a spectacular quarter, with the U.S. business beating $100 billion in sales for the quarter for the first time ever. It was a very strong finish to a very good year. And it wasn’t all inflation driven, it would appear, as both traffic and transactions grew compared to a year ago.

“We had another strong quarter to finish off a strong year,” said president and chief executive officer Doug McMillon in a statement. “We have momentum in our business in all three segments. We’re being aggressive with our plans and executing on the strategy. It’s exciting to see how the teams are simultaneously navigating today’s challenges and reshaping our business.”

Total revenues for the fourth quarter edged up 0.5% to $152.87 billion, exceeding analysts’ average estimate of $151.6 billion. Net sales for the period rose 0.4% to $151.53 billion while membership and other income leapt 23% to $1.35 billion. The bottom line for the final quarter swung to a $3.56 billion profit from a year-ago loss of $2.09 billion. 

DoorDash delivers 4th Quarter results…which were outstanding

Citing continued strong demand for delivery, DoorDash Inc. on Wednesday reported records upon records: for quarterly total orders, gross order value and a high of more than 25 million active users.

“I think we’ve put to rest this question of what happens to demand when diners go back to eating in restaurants,” DoorDash Chief Executive Tony Xu said during the company’s earnings call.

DoorDash shares DASH, +10.69% soared 28% after hours, after falling nearly 7% in the regular session to close at $94.88. Fourth-quarter gross-order value increased to $11.16 billion, exceeding analysts’ expectation of $10.64 billion.

CFO survey: 55% of retailers to raise prices in 2022

Supply chain threats are translating into rising prices for consumers. “Retailers are bouncing back from pandemic lows, but their optimism remains tempered against the anxiety of a changing business model of offline and online access that consumers demand,” the report stated.

That’s according to BDO’s 2022 Retail CFO Outlook Survey, which polled 100 retail industry CFOs with revenues ranging from $250 million to $3 billion in October 2021. To boost revenue amid an inflationary environment and ongoing supply chain issues, 55% of retailers will raise prices in 2022 — 38% already have. Some retailers are taking more drastic measures: More than 25% are planning to restructure or reorganize this year.

Supply chain disruption was cited as the number one risk to business by the surveyed executives. Rising transportation costs ranked as the top supply chain threat, cited by 52% of executives, followed by supplier risks or delays (38%), supply shortage (37%) and higher customer expectations (34%). All of these factors translate to rising prices and product shortages and, in response, retailers are largely passing on these costs to consumers, according to BDO.

White Castle adding “fry cook” robots to their stores

An Ohio based, family-owned, fast-food hamburger chain is expanding a pilot of a solution that automates the work of an entire fry station. It’s robots, cooking all the fries, at a fast food restaurant – and we love it.

Following the September 2020 deployment of a Miso Robotics Flippy robotic frying solution at a Chicagoland-area store and subsequent November 2021 upgrade to the new Flippy 2 version, White Castle is rolling the technology out to 100 new standalone locations.

By taking over the work of an entire fry station, Flippy 2 streamlines back-of-house activities at quick-service restaurants to create a working environment that maximizes the efficiency of the kitchen for human associates. Specific benefits White Castle has received from the robot include being able to optimize staffing during late-night shifts for its 24-hour operations. Traditionally difficult slots to fill, these shifts have been further challenged by social distancing resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.

With labor able to focus on front-of-the-house needs, employees are increasing their attention to order fulfillment for delivery and takeout.

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