Pandemic booms and busts will make results difficult to gauge


A shopper walks by shelves in the paper products aisle of a store in Burbank, California, November 19, 2020.

Robyn Beck | AFP | Getty Images

In a typical earnings season, the rules of the game for investors can be relatively simple: Rising profits and strong year-over-year sales growth signal success.

That formula won’t work in the coming quarters.

Some companies, including Walmart and Dollar General, have begun to lap challenging year-over-year comparisons. That means sales growth and e-commerce gains may look disappointing when compared with soaring numbers during the height of the pandemic. On the other hand, others like clothing retailers like Macy’s and Kohl’s, major airlines like Delta…


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