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Ritujay Ghosh

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Amazon.com, Inc. (AMZN – Free Report) announced on Apr 13 that 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 as millions of Americans stay quarantined in their houses due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Retailers with an online presence have seen a surge in demand for goods, especially household staples and grocery, over the past few weeks as the country struggles to contain the spread of coronavirus. Not only Amazon, but also the likes of Walmart, Inc. (WMT – Free Report) , Costco Wholesale Corporation (COST – Free Report) , Dollar General Corporation (DG – Free Report) and Target Corporation (TGT – Free Report) are on a seasonal hiring spree to tackle surging demand.

Amazon to Hire Thousands

Amazon is facing a daunting job of meeting online delivery orders. The e-commerce giant is at the same time trying to fill up the gap created by the high unemployment rate in the United States as more people continue to lose jobs amid the pandemic.

The company said that it will add $2 to its minimum $15 per hour rate to the wages of its temporary workers in the United States to lure in more employees. The company had earlier advertised for 100,000 new jobs, which it has already filled. Amazon aims to spend $500 million more globally to increase the wage of workers during the pandemic, up from the previous estimate of $350 million.

Other Retailers Adopting Similar Measures

Retailers across the United States with a strong e-commerce presence have been feeling the pressure of meeting growing demand. This is because most people are ordering grocery and other household online while they stay locked in to maintain social distance.

Also, escalating demand for online food delivery owing to the spread of coronavirus has forced Amazon to create a waitlist for new shoppers. Amazon is also planning to cut shopping hours at a few Whole Foods stores so that employees can get more time to fulfill online grocery orders.

Walmart had hired 100,000 workers in March and plans to hire another 50,000. Although some unions and elected officials have called on to close warehouses and stores, these companies are trying their best to help customers.

Also, low-cost retailer Dollar General 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.

Stocks to Consider

The coronavirus crisis has deepened over the past few weeks. The government has been struggling to contain the spread of the pandemic and has tightened safety measures, with people ordered to stay in their homes. This has seen a sudden surge in demand for online delivery, especially grocery and household staples. Given this situation, it would be prudent to watch out for these five stocks that are likely to rally on a sharp rise in demand in the near future.

Costco Wholesale Corporation sells high volumes of foods and general merchandise, including household products and appliances, at discounted prices through membership warehouses.

The company’s expected earnings growth rate for the current year is 7.9%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the current year earnings has improved 2.7% over the past 60 days. Costco carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

eBay Inc. (EBAY – Free Report) is one of the largest online retailers in the world. Its Marketplace platform includes the online marketplace at ebay.com and the eBay suite of mobile apps.

The company’s expected earnings growth rate for the current year is 7.4%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the current year earnings has improved 0.7% over the past 60 days. eBay carries a Zacks Rank #2.

Best Buy Co., Inc. (BBY – Free Report) is a multinational specialty retailer of consumer electronics, home office products, entertainment software, communication, food preparation, wellness, heath, security, appliances and related services.

The company’s expected earnings growth rate for the current year is 4.1%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the current year earnings has improved 1.1% over the past 60 days. Best Buy carries a Zacks Rank # 2.

Vipshop Holdings Limited (VIPS – Free Report) is an online discount retailer for brands. The company offers branded products to consumers through flash sales on its vipshop.com website.

The company’s expected earnings growth rate for the current year is 17.9%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the current year earnings has improved 0.8% over the past 60 days. Vipshop carries a Zacks Rank # 2.

The Hottest Tech Mega-Trend of All

Last year, it generated $24 billion in global revenues. By 2020, it’s predicted to blast through the roof to $77.6 billion. Famed investor Mark Cuban says it will produce “the world’s first trillionaires,” but that should still leave plenty of money for regular investors who make the right trades early.

Author: Ritujay Ghosh

Source: Zacks: 4 Retail Stocks to Buy as Coronavirus Boosts Online Demand

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