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Coronavirus Leads to Grocery Stockpiling: 5 Stocks in Focus

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On Apr 17, Walmart, Inc. (WMT - Free Report) announced that it will be hiring 50,000 more workers at it stores and warehouses and distribution centers. The move is in a bid to meet sustained demand for groceries and household staples due to the coronavirus pandemic.

This is the second time in two months that the retail giant has announced plans of expanding its workforce. Retailers across the country have been witnessing a surge in demand for household essentials and groceries from customers stockpiling during the coronavirus outbreak. Not only Walmart, other major retailers too have been on a hiring spree over the past month.

Walmart Expands Workforce

This is the second time in less than a month that Walmart has announced plans of expanding its workforce. The company on Friday said that it has already fulfilled its target of hiring 150,000 workers, which it had announced in March. The brick-and-mortar giant said that it reached this target six weeks ahead of schedule.

Walmart hired 5,000 employees per day on average at a time when millions of companies, battered by the pandemic, are going for layoffs and furloughs. The retailer worked with 70 companies that recently furloughed workers to fulfill its previous 150,000 vacancies. Walmart carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). The company’s expected earnings growth rate for the current year is 3.7%. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Retailers Continue to Hire

An increasing number of people are ordering groceries and household items online and stockpiling them due to the COVID-19 outbreak. This has seen retailers struggling to meet the surge in demand.

Given this scenario, retailers too have started hiring to speed up deliveries. Growing demand for face masks, toilet paper, hand sanitizers and other household products has seen retailers like Amazon.com, Inc. (AMZN - Free Report) , Kroger Company (KR - Free Report) and Target Corporation (TGT - Free Report) hiring thousands of temporary and permanent workers.

Last week, Amazon said it will be hiring 75,000 more heads for positions ranging from warehouse staff to delivery drivers. The move is in a bid to ramp up delivery services and meet the growing demand for online orders. Amazon has a Zacks Rank #3. The company’s expected earnings growth rate for the current year is 21.2%.

Low-cost retailer Dollar General Corporation (DG - Free Report) plans to double its typical hiring rate and add 50,000 workers by the end of April. Target too has around 9,000 jobs listed currently on its website. In March, Kroger said that it will add 20,000 more workers to its workforce to meet demand for groceries and other supplies sparked off by the coronavirus crisis. Dollar General, Target and Kroger each carries a Zacks Rank #3 and has expected earnings growth rate of 11%, 2.7% and 9.6%, respectively, for the current year.

Retailers across the United States are closing down stores in a bid to help the government contain the spread of the virus. Also, some unions and elected officials have called on supermarket chains and retailers to close warehouses and stores. However, retailers, particularly supermarket chains, discount stores and departmental stores with a strong online presence seem to be among the few that are still managing to survive the coronavirus bloodbath and are on a hiring spree.

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