Walmart tumbles after online sales growth slows

  • Walmart is down more than 6% Tuesday morning after reporting disappointing earnings.
  • The world’s largest retailer reported adjusted earnings of $US1.33 per share where Wall Street expected $US1.37.
  • Revenue was better-than-expected, but contributions from e-commerce fell by 27 percentage points from last quarter.

Shares of Walmart fell as much as 6% in early trading Tuesday after the retailer posted a 42% drop in fourth quarter earnings that missed Wall Street’s expectations.

However, the word’s largest retailer reported better-than-expected revenues of $US136.27 billion, where analysts polled by Bloomberg had anticipated $US134.83 billion. On a per share basis, Walmart missed, bringing in an adjusted $US1.33 versus the $US1.37 that was expected.

Online sales grew 23% in the final quarter of the year, the company said, down from 50% a year ago as it finalises the integration of its $US3.3 billionJet.com acquisition from 2016.

“Walmart U.S. eCommerce sales growth in the fourth quarter was 23 per cent, down from 50 per cent in the third quarter,” CEO Doug McMillan said in a statement. “The majority of this slowdown was expected as we fully lapped the Jet acquisition as well as creating a healthier long-term foundation for holiday. A smaller portion of the slowdown was unexpected, as we experienced some operational challenges that negatively impacted growth.”

Walmart has plenty of room to go in order to catch Amazon, which last year bought natural grocer Whole Foods for $US13.7 billion.

Since Amazon’s entrance into the grocery industry, Walmart has teamed up with Google to explore voice-command shopping much like Amazon’s Alexa-powered Echo devices, as well as cut prices in stores, and rolled out curbside grocery pick up in thousands of locations.

Shares of Walmart have gained 38% in the past year.

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