Wal Mart misses on Q4 EPS, guides lower
Wal Mart's shares fell after the low-cost retailer's fourth quarter earnings fell short of expectations and the company guided lower for earnings over the year ahead.
The company posted a net loss of $2.09bn of -74 cents per share for the three months to 31 December, versus a prior year gain of $4.14bn or $1.45 per share.
On an adjusted basis the company's quarterly EPS printed at $1.39, but that remained well below the median projection from the consensus for $1.51.
Yet Wal Mart did grow its topline from $141.67bn to $152.08bn, comfortably beating the consensus estimate for $148.51bn.
Like-for-like sales were strong too, jumping by 8.6% (consensus: 5.6%), amid a 69% surge in online sales.
Part of the disparity between the company's performance on its top and bottom lines was accounted for by $1.1bn in COVId-related costs.
For the year ahead, Wal Mart guided towards a slight decline in earnings per share, although on a comparable basis, which excludes divestitures, the opposite was true, with EPS was seen flat-to-up slightly.
LFL sales meanwhile were seen increasing at a low single digits rate excluding fuel, against a consensus forecast for a dip of 0.1% and EPS of $5.75.
The board also approved a 2% increase in its annual dividend to $2.2 per share, alongside an authorisation for $20bn stock buyback plan.
As of 1354 GMT, shares of Wal Mart were falling 5.44% in premarket trading.