Wal-Mart Lowers 4th Quarter, Full-Year Profit Expectations

WalmartWal-Mart 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 announcement comes the day before Doug McMillon, who had been chief executive officer of the Walmart International unit, becomes president and CEO of the Bentonville, Arkansas-based company.

“We have had some reorganization within the global finance organization,” spokesman Randy Hargrove said in an email, “and as the new leaders reviewed the processes and procedures, we have uncovered some issues that we are addressing today.”

The retailer now expects to report lower fourth-quarter sales at stores open at least a year for Walmart U.S. and Sam’s Club. It had previously expected same-store sales to be relatively unchanged at Walmart U.S. and flat to up 2 percent, without fuel, at Sam`s Club.

For the fiscal year, the company said it expected earnings at or slightly below the low end of its prior outlook of $5.11 to $5.21 a share.

The revisions came less than a week after Wal-Mart 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.

Wal-Mart, 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.

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