Wal-Mart profits beat Wall Street estimates

NEW YORK -- Wal-Mart Stores reported an 8 per cent decline in fourth-quarter earnings as the world's largest retailer prunes its global footprint.

See Full Article

The adjusted results, announced Thursday, beat analysts' expectations, but shares fell 4 per cent in premarket trading as Wal-Mart posted a revenue shortfall for the quarter and lowered its annual sale forecast for the year.

The retailer now says that total revenue will be unchanged compared with an earlier forecast for a three to four per cent increase.

Wal-Mart's results come as it faces pressure on all fronts. Its low-income shoppers remain cautious in a still recovering economy. Even lower gas prices haven't made shoppers splurge -- they're either using the windfall to save more or to pay down debt.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is also facing increasing competition from the likes of online leader Amazon.com, dollar stores and traditional grocers like Kroger, which are pushing lower prices.

To stay competitive, Wal-Mart is spending $2.7 billion to raise wages of its hourly workers over a two-year period and has stepped up its investment online and in the stores. But those moves have squeezed profits.

The company is also pruning its global foot print. Last month, Wal-Mart announced it was closing 269 stores, including 154 in the U .S. that includes all of its locations under its smallest-format concept store called Wal-Mart Express. The other big chunk is in its challenging Brazilian market. The closings are part of the company's overall review of its operations to make it more nimble to better compete with rivals.

At its U.S. stores, the company has been working to better stock its shelves and it has said that customer experience is better. That helped improve sales and traffic. Wal-Mart said that revenue at stores opened at least a year rose 0.6 per cent, its sixth straight increase. And customer counts are up for the fifth straight quarterly period.

"We are seeing momentum in our Wal-Mart U.S. business," said Doug McMillon, president and CEO of Wal-Mart in a statement. But he added, "We've still got a lot of work to do."

Wal-Mart, based in Bentonville, Arkansas, earned $4.57 billion, or $1.43 per share in the three-month period ended Jan. 31. That compares with $4.97 billion, or $1.53 per share, in the year ago period.

On an adjusted basis, the figure was $1.49, higher than the $1.46 per share estimated by FactSet.

Net revenue was $128.6 billion. That's slightly lower than the expected $130.5 billion, according to FactSet.

Shares fell $2.63, or 4 per cent, to $63.48 in premarket trading about an hour before the market open. Shares have been up around 8 per cent so far this year, after falling nearly 30 per cent last year.


Latest Economic News

  • Global vanilla prices squeeze margins for ice cream, cupcake makers

    Economic CTV News
    TORONTO -- Prepare to shell out a little more for the sweet treats of spring and summer as a global surge in the price of vanilla makes its impact at some small-batch ice cream shops and neighbourhood bakeries. Source
  • Companies experiment with killing the barcode on event tickets and in stores

    Economic CTV News
    TORONTO -- When fans score tickets for events at the Burton Cummings Theatre in Winnipeg in the future, they might notice the absence of a familiar feature: that ubiquitous zebra-styled inventory tracker bar that adorns almost every retail product imaginable. Source
  • Tickets without barcodes: Concert venues experiment with new systems

    Economic CBC News
    When fans score tickets for events at the Burton Cummings Theatre in Winnipeg in the future, they might notice the absence of a familiar feature: that ubiquitous zebra-styled inventory tracker bar that adorns almost every retail product imaginable. Source
  • Canadians see possible signal U.S. ready to accept NAFTA compromise

    Economic CTV News
    OTTAWA -- American trade officials are showing newfound interest in a Canadian proposal for revamping NAFTA's automotive provisions as the U.S. seeks to swiftly conclude renegotiations of the continental free trade pact. And that's being taken in some quarters as a sign that the U.S. Source
  • The dirty truth about makeup and the oil change debate: CBC's Marketplace consumer cheat sheet

    Economic CBC News
    Miss something this week? Don't panic. CBC's Marketplace rounds up the consumer and health news you need. Want this in your inbox? Get the Marketplace newsletter every Friday. Internet prices dialing up Your internet bill could get even more pricey. Source
  • After overcharging for bread, should Loblaws demand ID for a $25 gift card?

    Economic CBC News
    Jenn Iskiw says she'll be grocery shopping elsewhere after feeling betrayed by Loblaws — twice. First, for artificially inflating the price of bread for 14 years, and second, for demanding she send ID to get a $25 gift card offered as compensation for bread price fixing. Source
  • Facebook suspends data analytics firm that worked for Trump campaign

    Economic CBC News
    The Massachusetts attorney general said on Saturday her office was launching an investigation after reports that Cambridge Analytica had harvested private information from more than 50 million Facebook users in developing techniques to support U.S. President Donald Trump's 2016 election campaign. Source
  • Trump's goal of 'energy dominance' could change the global balance of power

    Economic CBC News
    Fuelled by technological breakthroughs and cuts to taxes and regulation, the United States is on target to become the world's biggest producer of crude oil in the next five years. Let that sink in. The U.S will be bigger than Russia and Saudi Arabia. Source
  • How to avoid spending money on unnecessary oil changes

    Economic CBC News
    Oil changes are by far the most common service performed on vehicles in Canada. Customers pay quick lube facilities, private garages and dealer maintenance centres well over a billion dollars a year for the service. But a CBC investigation finds many of us may be changing our oil far more often than automakers require. Source
  • Trans Mountain protester arrested, one day after court grants injunction

    Economic CTV News
    BURNABY, B.C. -- Burnaby RCMP say they arrested a woman who chained herself to a work truck Friday morning, one day after the B.C. Supreme Court granted Trans Mountain an injunction against demonstrators. Just before 8 a.m. Source