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Wal-Mart sees lower Q4 earnings, blames weather, food stamp cuts

Free Layaway service signs appear on TVs at Walmart in King of Prussia, Pa., Nov. 12, 2013.
John Brecher | NBC News
Free Layaway service signs appear on TVs at Walmart in King of Prussia, Pa., Nov. 12, 2013.

Discount retail giant Wal-Mart added to Wall Street's gloom on Friday, slicing fourth quarter guidance from its original estimate as it blamed a litany of negative factors for the lowered expectations.

Wal-Mart said earnings for Q4 would be "at or slightly below the low end" of its $1.60-$1.70 per share range. The retailer faulted the federal government's reduction in food stamps—significant because most of its clients are lower income buyers—and the extreme cold weather as damaging its results. Additionally, it blamed store closings in Brazil, China and India.

"We now anticipate that our underlying EPS for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2014 will be at or slightly below the low end of our range of $1.60 to $1.70," said Charles Holley, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. chief financial officer. "For the full year, we expect underlying EPS to be at or slightly below the low end of our range of $5.11 to $5.21."

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