Walmart digital sales to lead growth after lackluster year-end

Walmart ‘well-positioned’ despite a disappointing fourth quarter: Retail expert

Strategic Resource Group’s managing director Burt Flickinger says he’s not worried about Walmart missing profit estimates.

Walmart reported fourth-quarter profit and revenue that fell short of Wall Street estimates, sending shares lower.

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The Bentonville, Arkansas-based retailer earned $4.14 billion, or $1.45 a share, as revenue rose 2.1 percent year over year to $141.7 billion, falling short of estimates. Adjusted earnings were $1.38 a share, missing the $1.43 that Wall Street analysts surveyed by Refinitiv were expecting. Disruption in Chile and a legal issue curbed Walmart's profit by 5 cents a share, the company said.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
WMT WALMART INC. 117.89 +0.45 +0.38%

For the full year, Walmart earned a profit of $14.88 billion on revenue of $523.96 billion.

"Sales leading up to Christmas in our U.S. stores were a little softer than expected," CFO Brett Biggs said in a statement. "We understand the factors that affected our results and are developing plans to address them."

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Comparable sales at Walmart's U.S. stores rose 6 percent when smoothed over two years, amid continued strength in its food and consumables business. U.S. net sales were $92.3 billion, outpacing the $90.5 billion estimate. Meanwhile, U.S. e-commerce sales were up 37 percent as both its Net Promoter Score and Customer Value Index improved.

Sam's Club comparable sales grew 0.7 percent as lower tobacco sales were a 310 basis-point drag, and international net sales rose 2.8 percent on a constant currency basis amid strength in Mexico, China and India.

Walmart raised its annual dividend to $2.16 a share, up from $2.12.

Walmart predicts earnings of $5 to $5.15 a share in the current budget year and net sales growth of about 3 percent. U.S. e-Commerce net sales growth will be about 30 percent, the company said.

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