Walmart Inc. reported a mixed performance Thursday for the fourth quarter. It swung to a loss partly due to costs related to the pandemic, and the sale of its Japan and U.K. divisions. But sales surged by 7.4% in the period that includes the critical holiday shopping season. Sales at stores opened at least a year rose 8.6%, up from 6.4% in the previous quarter.
While online sales surged 69%, that is down from an 80% spike in the prior period and it was the slowest growth since the pandemic began. The company also said it expects overall sales to moderate this year. Shares dipped almost 6% in early trading.
It is the steepest one-day sell off in almost a year.
Walmart has pushed hard into fast and convenient delivery during the pandemic. But even the massive infrastructure put into place by Walmart in recent years were strained by the crush of orders from millions of people sheltering at home.
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