Walmart Revises Profit Forecast Downward

Walmart lowers 4Q, full-year profit expectations
Scott Olson/Getty Images
BENTONVILLE, Ark. -- Walmart said Friday that key earnings figures may come in at the low end or below its prior forecasts for its fourth quarter and full fiscal year. It also said a widely watched sales metric for the fourth quarter which includes the holiday season will be lower than its previous forecast.

The news initially sent Walmart (WMT) shares lower but they were up by early afternoon.

The world's biggest retailer said the lower earnings outlook reflect accounting for some Brazil-related charges and other items. Chief Financial Officer Charles Holley said in a statement that these items weren't anticipated when Walmart previously provided its forecasts.

The lowered outlook for sales at stores open at least a year was due in part to eight winter storms that resulted in some store closings, Holley said. He added that its Sam's Club locations were hurt by weather throughout the quarter.

The sales performance was also hindered by a bigger-than-expected impact from the federal government's reduction in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits that went into effect on Nov. 1, Holley said.

Walmart didn't provide specific numbers to go with its revised forecasts.

The retailer only said that its fiscal fourth-quarter and full-year adjusted earnings from continuing operations may come in at or slightly below the low end of its prior forecasts.
It previously projected fourth-quarter adjusted earnings from continuing operations between $1.60 and $1.70 a share. Its 2014 guidance was for $5.11 to $5.21 a share.

Analysts surveyed by FactSet predict fourth-quarter earnings of $1.65 a share and full-year earnings of $5.16 a share.

It also said sales -- excluding fuel -- at Walmart and Sam's Club locations in the U.S. open at least a year would be slightly below its prior forecasts. The chain previously expected the key sales figure would be relatively flat at its namesake locations in the U.S. and that it would be between flat and 2 percent at Sam's Club. Sales at stores open at least a year is a closely watched indicator of a retailer's health.

Shares of Walmart Stores Inc. had fallen as low as $73.64 in morning trading on the news but were up 16 cents to $74.91 in afternoon trading Friday.

The revisions came less than a week after Walmart announced that it was eliminating 2,300 workers at its Sam's Club division. The layoffs, which cut 2 percent of the membership club's U.S. employee count of about 116,000, mark the largest since 2010 when the Sam's Club unit laid off 10,000 workers as it moved to outsource food demonstrations at its stores.

Walmart, which has 11,096 stores, said that it will provide detailed fourth-quarter and full-year financial results as well as guidance for fiscal 2015 on Feb. 20.

Increase your money and finance knowledge from home

Forex for Beginners

Learn about trading currencies and foreign exchange transactions

View Course »

Investment Strategies

What's your investing game plan?

View Course »

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum

1 Comment

Filter by:

This article is a Democrats wet dream.

January 31 2014 at 11:34 AM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply