Four Wal-Mart heirs shed $5.7 billion from their collective net worth yesterday after the world's largest retailer posted first-quarter earnings that missed analysts’ estimates. The Bentonville, Arkansas-based company's U.S. sales grew more slowly than projected and currency fluctuations ate into profit.
Earnings amounted to $1.03 a share, excluding some items, Wal-Mart said in a statement Tuesday. Analysts had predicted $1.05 on average.
Wal-Mart’s stock fell 4.4 percent to $76.43 at the close in New York, the biggest one-day drop since April 2012, causing the fortunes of Alice Walton, Jim Walton, Rob Walton and Christy Walton to plummet. Their shares have declined 11 percent this year, for a total of $14 billion in combined losses. Revenue also was light last quarter, with the company’s U.S. supercenters and Sam’s Club locations posting slower growth than estimated.
Sam’s Club, Wal-Mart's warehouse division, posted its worst first-quarter sales in years, a sign it’s falling further behind Costco. in winning the hearts of America’s bulk shoppers. After dropping 3 percent last quarter, Sam’s Club revenue is now at its lowest level in three years. Costco, meanwhile, saw growth of 8 percent on that basis in its most recent results.