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Wal-Mart's whine: consumers just not spending

Thursday, August 14, 2014 - 01:24

Wal-Mart sales were stagnant, and the discount retailer says consumer spending is still weak. Competition, especially from online rivals, remains heavy. Bobbi Rebell reports.

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Wal-Mart out with a warning saying this year's promotional environment will be more than last year, and that it will continue into the 2014 holiday season. The company also slashing its full-year profit forecast saying health insurance costs for its nearly 1.5 million employees are going up dramatically from $330 million to $500 million annually. Wal-Mart is also spending more on its online business. It's been playing catch up with online competitors like Amazon as consumers do more and more of their everyday shopping on the web, and just this June they hired a new head for its online business. CEO Doug McMillon saying: "Our investments in e-commerce and mobile are very important, as the lines between digital and physical retail continue to blur. Our customers expect a seamless experience, and we're working to deliver that for them around the world." Traffic at their U.S. stores fell for the 7th quarter in a row. Sales were flat at the world's largest retailer, CEO Doug McMillon blaming heavy competition and weak consumer spending. In fact, on Tuesday retail sales came in weaker than anticipated. One bright spot - small format stores - they helped revenue rise more than expected. Wal-Mart's per share earnings of $1.21 were in line with expectations. Not much of an early response in the stock, but shares are down 6 percent year to date.

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Wal-Mart's whine: consumers just not spending

Thursday, August 14, 2014 - 01:24