Get a stimulus deal done

Doug McMillon, CEO of Walmart, speaking at the Business Roundtable CEO Innovation Summit in Washington, DC on Dec. 6th, 2018. 

Janhvi Bhojwani | CNBC

Walmart CEO Doug McMillon Thursday called on Congress to work together and pass a stimulus deal to help American families and small businesses.

“For both sides, I think what they need to keep in mind is that there are Americans that need them, that don’t really care about politics, aren’t really tied up in this election and they just need some help,” he said, in an interview on CNBC’s “Squawk Box.”

He said lawmakers on both sides of the aisle — including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Secretary of Treasury Steve Mnuchin — should hammer out an agreement, even if they need to tinker with it and improve upon it over time.

“Doing nothing is not the first and best option,” he said.

During the coronavirus pandemic, Walmart has hired more than half a million workers to try to keep up with Americans’ demand for groceries, household essentials and other items like outdoor equipment, while adjusting to a significant surge in e-commerce sales.

Walmart’s second-quarter sales crushed Wall Street’s estimates and its online sales nearly doubled in the second quarter that ended July 31. At the time, Walmart’s Chief Financial Officer Brett Biggs credited government stimulus as one of the factors that gave the company’s earnings a boost.

In an interview with CNBC in mid-August, Biggs declined to provide a financial outlook for the company, citing stimulus as a factor, and said the company was “watching what’s going on in Washington, and how we’re going to progress with a new stimulus package.”

The stalemate over stimulus has added even more uncertainty as retailers, including Walmart, prepare for the holiday shopping season.

Yet, McMillon said the retailer, which has stores in towns and cities across the country, has seen families cope with very different financial circumstances during the coronavirus pandemic and recession.

“Not everyone’s in the same camp,” he said. “There are people that are still being at home, who are spending money on their home and doing things to redecorate and those kinds of things. But there are other people that are struggling paycheck to paycheck – if they have a paycheck – and so many people are unemployed that we’re seeing that pressure as well.”

This is a breaking news story. Please check back for updates.

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