Between the closing of most stores and the voluntary quarantining of consumers, March has been a tough month for retailers. It could get worse before it gets better too, should the coronavirus linger.
Walmart (NYSE:WMT), however, is one exception to this new norm. It's struggling to keep up with surging demand -- online and in-store -- for basic consumer staples like cleaning supplies, food, and toiletries. The company is so overwhelmed, in fact, that it's looking to hire an additional 150,000 temporary employees in the United States alone. These workers will be positioned in its stores as well as the company's distribution and fulfillment centers, and are expected to be needed until May.
For perspective, the retailer regularly employs about 1.5 million workers in the U.S.
Keeping existing employees on-board
Walmart is also acting to retain its existing workers, some of whom say they are "tired and frustrated" at the pace shelves are being restocked and then depleted again by shoppers. The retailer announced on Friday it had earmarked $550 million for bonuses payable to hourly employees. Full-timers will receive a $300 award, while part-timers will pocket $150.
Walmart isn't alone
Walmart isn't the only consumer-facing name to experience overwhelming demand at a time when most retailers are shuttered. Online shopping giant Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN) reported earlier this week it was aiming to hire 100,000 workers to meet burgeoning demand for essential goods. Like Walmart's online shopping and curbside pickup options, Amazon's delivery model gives concerned consumers a way to avoid coming in contact with large crowds.