By Francesca Fontana
Home Depot Inc.
Two giant retailers said the pandemic is not ready to release its grip on their industry yet. A surge in demand for home improvements helped Home Depot‘s revenue increase 20% in its latest fiscal year, while annual sales at Macy’s tumbled nearly 30%. Both sold more online. The retailers said these trends continue in 2021 but could change later this year as vaccines roll out. Home Depot shares fell 3.1% Tuesday, while Macy’s shares added 3.9%.
Salesforce.com set its sights higher for 2021, but investors may need convincing. The business-software provider posted record sales and lifted its outlook for the current year on Thursday, as the company expands its services in a bid to challenge rivals such as Microsoft Corp. The company in December struck its biggest-ever acquisition, the $27.7 billion proposed acquisition of workplace message company Slack Technologies Inc. Salesforce said on Thursday that Slack would help boost its top line for this fiscal year by around $600 million. But investors have been wary about the deal for Slack, which loses money. Salesforce shares have lost more than 10% since The Wall Street Journal first reported deal talks. Salesforce shares fell 6.3% Friday.
Best Buy Co.
The future is getting fuzzier at Best Buy. The electronics retailer said on Thursday that sales surged in the holiday season but warned that its torrid growth would slow this year. Best Buy plans to speed its digital transformation, including shrinking its store workforce and using more space to fulfill online orders. The company has been laying off workers and cutting hours for some store workers in recent weeks. Chief Executive Corie Barry said that some 5,000 workers were laid off or chose to take severance after their hours were cut during the last fiscal year. Best Buy shares fell 9.3% Thursday.
Johnson & Johnson
A new Covid-19 vaccine is nearing the finish line. Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose Covid-19 vaccine was effective “across demographic subgroups” in a late-stage study, U.S. Food and Drug Administration scientists told a panel of medical specialists during a meeting to evaluate the shot Friday. The committee’s meeting is the final step before U.S. health regulators decide on what would be authorization of a third vaccine, and the decision is expected Saturday. If the vaccine is authorized, J&J has said it would deliver about 20 million doses for U.S. use by the end of March. Johnson & Johnson shares fell 2.6% Friday.
Anheuser-Busch InBev SA
The hard seltzer craze is helping the world’s biggest brewer keep sales frothy. Anheuser-Busch InBev said Thursday that demand for its hard seltzer brands partly offset weaker sales of Budweiser and Bud Light. The company said sales at its “beyond beer” unit, which includes hard seltzer, ready-to-drink cocktails and other products, grew double digits to top over $1 billion in the latest quarter. Flavored alcoholic sparkling water emerged as one of the hottest parts of the booze market in recent years, coaxing more health-conscious drinkers away from beer. In response, AB InBev launched Bud Light Seltzer early last year and recently rolled out Michelob Ultra Hard Seltzer. AB InBev shares lost 7.9% Thursday.
“Meme” stocks are still in play. GameStop shares jumped for a second day Thursday as momentum surrounding the stock continued to build. Thursday’s gains stood in contrast with the rest of the market, as major stock indexes tumbled and the yield on the 10-year Treasury note marked its biggest one-day advance since November. The videogame retailer’s recent rally is similar to last month’s blockbuster gains, which were fueled by individual investors who touted the stock on Reddit’s WallStreetBets forum and other social-media platforms. Other “meme” stocks, or ones that are popular on the Reddit forum, also jumped this week. GameStop shares surged 19% Thursday.
Demand for food delivery in a Covid-vaccinated world is expected to cool. DoorDash said Thursday its days of breakneck growth are ending, forecasting a major slowdown in new food orders for 2021 as vaccinations sweep the country and the economy crawls toward reopening. The company expects total orders this year to be between $30 billion and $33 billion, an increase of as much as 33% from 2020. It’s a more modest pace than the triple-digit-percent growth rate in recent quarters. In its first financial report since its initial public offering, the company also reported a larger-than-expected loss in the quarter and rising costs related to regulation. DoorDash shares added 1.6% Friday.
Write to Francesca Fontana at [email protected] Zoom.com
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
February 26, 2021 20:07 ET (01:07 GMT)
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