Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the world’s largest retailer, reported lower-than-expected fourth quarter earnings and revised its forecast for the next year, projecting net sales to remain flat in 2017 instead of a 3 percent to 4 percent growth it had predicted earlier.
“This change [the forecast] reflects the impact from recently announced store closures globally, as well as the continued strengthening of the U.S. dollar,” the company said, in a statement Thursday.
Currency fluctuations are expected to negatively impact net sales by approximately $12 billion for fiscal year 2017, the company projected.
On the earnings front, net income for the quarter ending Jan. 31, fell 7.9 percent to $4.57 billion or $1.43 per diluted share from $4.97 billion, or $1.53 per share, a year earlier. Analysts had expected the company to earn $1.46 per share, according to Reuters.
Revenue for the quarter came in at $128.68 billion, slightly below analysts’ expectations and below last year’s sales of $131.57 billion. On a constant currency basis — which is used by global companies to smoothen the impact of exchange rate fluctuations — total revenue was $134.4 billion, according to the company.
In January, Bentonville, Arkansas-based Wal-Mart reportedly said it would close 269 stores around the globe, including 154 in the U.S. alone this year.
Following the announcement, the retailer's shares slipped 4 percent in pre-market trade on the New York Stock Exchange Thursday. The company’s shares have risen about 7.5 percent since the start of the year.
This story has been updated to add the company's total revenue calculated on a constant currency basis for the fourth quarter.