American retail giant Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. will report earnings for the first quarter of the fiscal year 2017 before markets open Thursday. Analysts polled by Reuters expect the company, which is the world’s largest retailer by sales, to report earnings of 88 cents a share in the quarter ending April — a 14.3 percent drop over the same quarter last year, when it reported $1.03 per share in earnings.
Wal-Mart’s revenues — which shrank for the first time last year since the company went public over four decades ago — are expected to drop 1.4 percent on-year in the quarter, to $113.2 billion from $114.8 billion.
In recent months, Wal-Mart’s profits have been hurt by spending on e-commerce operations and wage increases. The company has also been hurt by a broader gloom in the retail sector that recently forced it to cut its sales forecast for the current fiscal year.
“While issues are largely in international markets, the overall trajectory is concerning and suggests Walmart is losing ground to Amazon and others,” analysts at MKM Partners reportedly wrote in a note published Thursday. “The slowing growth is also a disconnect with the massive investments Walmart has been making in digital.”
However, as domestic spending in grocery stores rose by 3 percent in the three-month period ending April, the retailer is expected to be somewhat insulated from the spreading retail gloom that has affected its peers such as Macy’s and Target.
Wal-Mart’s same-store sales are expected to rise 0.5 percent on-year in the quarter, marking its seventh consecutive quarter of positive same-store sales.
On Tuesday’s Wal-Mart’s shares closed down 3 percent in New York. However, the stock has risen 2.4 percent this year, outperforming the broader index.