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Walmart sinks 6% as 4th-quarter earnings and full-year profit guidance miss expectations

Summary List Placement Walmart fell as much as 6.2% on Thursday after fourth-quarter earnings missed Wall Street estimates. The retail giant's forward guidance also rankled investors. Walmart expects profits to dip slightly and sales growth to slow. CEO Doug McMillon announced the company would lift the average wage for its associates to...

Walmart

Summary List Placement

  • Walmart fell as much as 6.2% on Thursday after fourth-quarter earnings missed Wall Street estimates.
  • The retail giant’s forward guidance also rankled investors. Walmart expects profits to dip slightly and sales growth to slow.
  • CEO Doug McMillon announced the company would lift the average wage for its associates to $15 an hour.
  • Watch Walmart trade live here.

Walmart tumbled as much as 6.2% on Thursday after the retail giant’s fourth-quarter earnings landed below Wall Street forecasts.

While the company’s revenue through the period came in just above expectations, earnings disappointed. Losses from Walmart’s UK and Japanese operations drove the bulk of the shortfall and plunged the company into an unadjusted quarterly deficit. Even excluding those operations, adjusted earnings still missed expectations.

The retailer also warned revenue growth will slow through the next fiscal year. Profits are also expected to decline slightly, though divestitures should lead earnings to be flat or up slightly, according to the quarterly report.

Here are the key numbers:

Revenue: $152.1 billion, versus the $148.4 billion estimate

Adjusted earnings per share: $1.39, versus the $1.50 estimate

Same-store sale growth (excluding gas): 8.9%, versus the 6.1% estimate

Investors also balked at slowed growth from Walmart’s e-commerce arm. The increasingly important division saw revenue climb 69% over the quarter, its smallest increase since the pandemic hit the US in spring 2020. Widespread vaccination and falling case counts threaten to weaken online retail even further.

Walmart CEO Doug McMillon announced the company will raise the average wage for its hourly employees above $15 an hour. About 425,000 frontline associate workers will receive raises, according to the report. The investment follows raises for 165,000 associates in the fall.

“This is a time to be even more aggressive because of the opportunity we see in front of us,” McMillon said. “We have momentum with customers, and our financial position is strong.”

Walmart closed at $147.20 on Wednesday, up about 2% year-to-date. The company has 37 “buy” ratings, three “hold” ratings, and one “sell” rating from analysts.

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