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Wal-Mart profit falls 21% in 4th quarter, 6% for year

By Gavin Lesnick

This article was originally published February 20, 2014 at 6:35 a.m. Updated February 20, 2014 at 11:23 a.m.

Wal-Mart on Thursday reported a 21 percent decrease in net income in the fourth quarter and a nearly 6 percent decrease for the year.

The Bentonville-based retail giant said consolidated net income attributable to Wal-Mart was $4.4 billion in the quarter that ended Jan. 31, down from $5.6 billion in 2013. Diluted earnings per share from continuing operations attributable to Wal-Mart were $1.34, down nearly 20 percent from $1.67 a year before.

Net sales in the quarter increased 1.4 percent to $128.8 billion from a previous $127 million and would have been more if not for about $1.8 billion lost due to "currency exchange rate fluctuations," Wal-Mart said. Total revenue was up 1.5 percent to $129.7 billion, from nearly $127.8 billion a year before.

For the fiscal year, Wal-Mart's consolidated net income was $16 billion, down 5.7 percent from nearly $17 billion the year before. Diluted earnings per share fell 3.2 percent, from $5.01 to $4.85. Consolidated net sales and total revenue each increased 1.6 percent.

Wal-Mart said the earnings per share would have been 26 cents higher for the year and fourth quarter if not for staff restructuring at Sam's Club, one Sam's Club closure and several impacts from foreign operations, including non-income tax contingencies in Brazil, store closures there and in China, and lease expense charges in China.

Doug McMillon, president and chief executive officer of Wal-Mart Stores, said the retailer would "continue to grow our global business by focusing on customers and serving them how they want to be served." He said Wal-Mart would look to boost comparable-store sales (which were down at U.S. Wal-Marts 0.4 percent in the quarter and 0.6 percent for the year), continue focusing on Wal-Mart's online strategy and open more smaller locations.

"We’ll invest aggressively in e-commerce and increase our small store rollout in the U.S., as we’ve done in several other countries, to deliver value and convenience," McMillon said in a news release. "... The combination of supercenters and smaller formats closer to customers’ homes, along with e-commerce and mobile commerce, will enable us to increase our relevance for the Walmart brand around the world."

Wal-Mart on Thursday also announced its board approved a $1.92 cash dividend for fiscal year 2015, a 2 percent increase from $1.88 paid in 2014.

A pre-recorded call on the earnings report will be available at www.stock.walmart.com or by calling (877) 523-5612 and using passcode 9256278.

Read tomorrow's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.

Comments on: Wal-Mart profit falls 21% in 4th quarter, 6% for year

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Displaying 1 - 6 of 6 total comments

rbelv_aol.com says... February 20, 2014 at 10:27 a.m.

It's because their stores are messy, cluttered,& dirty. Their managers are inaccessible. Their associates are not engaged in customer service, not helpful, & not friendly. Their checkout lines are too long, yet multiple stations are unopened.
I've written to corporate. I've spoken to managers-which is difficult to accomplish-all to no avail. Customers are now avoiding Walmart & going to other stores even for higher prices.

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DontDrinkDatKoolAid says... February 20, 2014 at 12:11 p.m.

Just a bump in the road for them. Just down 5.7 percent from last years earnings.

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TheBatt says... February 20, 2014 at 12:23 p.m.

All but one Walmart I have been in in the last year has had departments that looked like they had been hit by a tornado... unkept isles, unsorted merchandise, stuff on the floor, and employees all standing around doing little. The one exception has been the WM in Clinton, AR. It seems employees there stay busy and try hard to keep stuff straight.

Merchandise quality in many areas is lacking. Prices are often not as competitive, and in the grocery department - why would I buy water and preservative injected meats (paying for an added water-weight of up to 10%), when I can go to another local grocer and buy fresh-cut, unadulterated meats for a lower price?

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Firefighter says... February 20, 2014 at 12:33 p.m.

Agree totally with previous writers. We go now elsewhere. I've complained to managers and checkout personnel. Managers say complain to corporate if I don't like the situation. Multiple checkout people said they shop at Krogers. We tried Krogers and now shop there. Short lines, clean stores, well stocked. They even bag your groceries and put them in your cart.

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JessePinkman says... February 20, 2014 at 3:19 p.m.

I thought the one in Clinton was extremely difficult to get around in and was not impressed at all when I went there in November on the way to a fishing trip. WM is what it is; I split between them and Kroger based on prices and try to use the self checkout since I'm about 10 times faster than anyone they have.

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wolfman says... February 21, 2014 at 3:29 a.m.

what we have a choice other than walmart. Walmart thinks it has consumers by the you know what but consumers have a choice. And yes it is worth going to a higher priced store for groceries. Walmart has lost focus on what their customers want. Low prices! When you price your stuff only 2 pennies cheaper than the competition it just doesn't cut it. come on walmart, you can afford to lower the prices. for goodness sakes you won't lose that much more money. Think about your customers!

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