How does the Wesfarmers (ASX:WES) share price perform during lockdowns?

With much of Australia once again under COVID-related stay-at-home orders, how are Wesfarmers shares faring?

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The Wesfarmers Ltd (ASX: WES) share price is surging to record highs today, touching a milestone of $63.75 in morning trading.

At the same time, more than 15 million Australians are today in some form of COVID-related lockdown.

Wesfarmers is a retail conglomerate that operates household banners including Bunnings, K-Mart, Officeworks, Target and online retailer Catch.

Depending on individual state governments, most of these retail businesses are classified as consumer staples.

With many people forced to work or learn from home, could these outlets see a surge in consumer demand?

It's likely that prudent investors will be asking whether there is a correlation between the Wesfarmers share price and lockdowns.

Does lockdown impact Wesfarmers shares?

Australians have been through a myriad of lockdowns since the COVID-19 pandemic kicked off in March last year.

Like most companies on the S&P/ASX 200 Index (ASX: XJO), the Wesfarmers share price was pummelled during the initial nationwide lockdown in 2020, plummeting to a low of $32.25 on 27 March.

In August 2020, Victoria declared a 'state of emergency' as COVID-19 cases rocked the state.

By this time, the Wesfarmers share price had recovered strongly and was nudging record highs around $48.  

Fast-forward to 2021 and the COVID-19 outbreak during mid-June in New South Wales.

The Wesfarmers share price bolted more than 11% after the state announced stay-at-home orders.

However, this does not mean there's a direct correlation between lockdowns and the Wesfarmers share price.

In its recent strategy update, Wesfarmers management noted that retail and online sales experienced a boom in spending. Particularly in hardware, homeware and technology.

However, the retail conglomerate also noted that sales would come under pressure the longer lockdowns persisted.

What else has been fueling the Wesfarmers share price?

The Wesfarmers share price also appears to have been boosted by the company's renewed strategy.

The conglomerate is focused on investing in new growth platforms and selling unwanted assets.

Over the next 12 to 24 months, Wesfarmers plans to invest an additional $100 million in developing a market-leading data and digital retail ecosystem.

 In addition, Wesfarmers has also made its intentions clear about expanding into the beauty and pharmaceutical sector. This was illustrated by the company's $687 million offer for Australian Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd (ASX: API).

Many investors will tune in to the August reporting season for greater insight into how Wesfarmers has performed over the past financial year.

Wesfarmers is slated to report its earnings on Friday 27 August.

Motley Fool contributor Nikhil Gangaram has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia owns shares of and has recommended Wesfarmers Limited. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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