Walmart store in the US.
Kena Betancur/VIEWpress via Getty Images
Walmart’s Q4 earnings fell short of Wall Street’s expectations, data showed on Thursday.
The retailer said in a press release it expects sales growth to slow this year.
Online sales rose 69% in the fourth quarter and its same-store sales in the US grew by 8.6%.
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Walmart’s fourth-quarter earnings showed Thursday the retailer’s shares missed Wall Street’s expectations.
Analysts, on average, were expecting the company to earn $1.51 per share, but adjusted earnings came out at $1.39 per share. Operating income rose 3.1% to $5.49 billion in the quarter.
The company said in a press release it expects sales growth to slow this year. It forecast fiscal 2022 net sales to grow in low-single digits, with earnings per share estimated to be flat to slightly up.
Despite this, Walmart beat expectations for same-store sales growth, as an early start to the holiday season and a boost from stimulus money late in the fourth quarter drove demand for electronics, toys, and groceries.
Walmart, which employs 1.5 million people in the US, also said it was raising wages for its workers in the country to more than $15 per hour on average.
Sales at US stores open at least a year surged 8.6%, excluding fuel, in the three months ended January 31, well above analysts’ expectations of a 5.6% rise, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.
Online sales rose 69% in the quarter, blowing past a 35% increase in the year-earlier period, but slower than a 79% surge in the third quarter.
The retailer has relied on its scale and strengthening online presence during the pandemic to attract new customers looking for a one-stop shop for their daily needs.
Walmart said it had incurred about $1.1 billion in expenses related to COVID-19 in the reported quarter, including higher wages for warehouse workers, bonuses for store employees and costs related to keeping its stores clean.
“Our business is strong, and we’re making it even stronger with targeted investments to accelerate growth, including raises for 425,000 associates in frontline roles driving the customer experience,” said Doug McMillon, Walmart president and CEO, in a press release.
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