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Wal-Mart shares dip as sales forecast cut

(FILES) This file photo taken on January 28, 2016 shows a closed sign at a Walmart store in Chinatown in Los Angeles, California. Wal-Mart Stores trimmed its sales forecast for fiscal 2017 February 18, 2016 due to store closures and the strong dollar as it reported lower fourth-quarter earnings.The world's biggest retailer saw shares tumble as it reported that it now expects fiscal 2017 sales to be flat, down from the previous outlook for three to four percent growth. Walmart's fiscal 2017 started February 1.  / AFP / Mark Ralston

New York / AFP

Wal-Mart Stores trimmed its sales forecast for fiscal 2017 on Thursday due to store closures and the strong dollar as it reported lower fourth-quarter earnings.
The world’s biggest retailer saw shares tumble as it reported that it now expects fiscal 2017 sales to be flat, down from the previous outlook for three to four percent growth. Walmart’s fiscal 2017 started February 1.
Walmart reported fourth-quarter earnings of $4.6 billion, down 7.9 percent from the year-ago period in results dented by the strong dollar.
Revenues dropped 1.4 percent to $129.7 billion, about $1.3 billion below analyst expectations.
The lower 2017 sales forecast comes as Walmart beefs up spending by about $1.5 billion in 2017 to boost employee wages and build up e-commerce as it tries to fend off Amazon and other competitors.
“The investments we are making in our associates, our stores and digital capabilities are better positioning Walmart now and for the future,” said chief financial officer Brett Briggs. “Even as we continue to invest, we will remain focused on managing expenses across the company.”
Walmart in January said it was shuttering 269 stores inside and outside the United States. Chief executive Doug McMillon said the closures were part of a needed strategic rethink and that it still plans to open more than 300 new stores in the next year.
For all of 2016, Walmart reported earnings of $14.7 billion, down 9.2 percent from 2015.
Annual revenues fell 0.7 percent to $482.1 billion.
Shares fell 4.0 percent to $63.45 in-premarket trade.

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