2018-02-20 11:24:03
Walmart’s Revenue Rises, but Profit Falls Amid E-Commerce Push

Walmart reported mixed fourth-quarter results on Tuesday, saying that its revenue rose but its profit dropped as it continued to invest in its online businesses and took a series of restructuring charges.

The company, which is the nation’s largest retailer, reported increases in revenue of 4 .1 percent to $136.3 billion during the fiscal fourth quarter, which ended Jan. 31 and included the critical holiday shopping season.

Operating income fell 28 percent to $4.5 billion, a drop that the company said was caused by charges associated with the closing of dozens of Sam’s Club stores and other restructuring efforts.

On a per-share basis, Walmart earned $1.33, short of the $1.37 that Wall Street analysts had expected.

“We’re making decisions to position the business for success and investing to win with customers and shareholders,” Walmart’s chief executive, Doug McMillon, said in a statement.

The company is battling for sales in a rapidly shifting retail landscape. While most shopping still takes place in bricks-and-mortar stores, online purchases now account for about 10 percent of total retail spending, and Amazon continues to capture half of that online volume.

Walmart has continued to increase its online business; it said its e-commerce sales rose 24 percent in the fourth quarter compared with last year.

The retailer has been building out its e-commerce offerings by purchasing Jet.com and the online clothing retailers Bonobos and ModCloth. Last week, Walmart announced that it was offering members of its Sam’s Club unit free shipping on online orders for an annual fee of $100. As part of that effort, Walmart is converting a Sam’s Club store in Memphis into a e-commerce distribution center, and it revealed plans to open more around the country in the coming year.

It has also been expanding into new markets, forming a partnership to deliver groceries with Rakuten, the e-commerce giant in Japan, and pushing into new digital products, such as e-readers and audiobooks.

The shift toward e-commerce is proving costly. Even without the one-time restructuring charges, Walmart said its operating income would have fallen, by less than 1 percent.