By  on February 20, 2018

Walmart Inc.'s fourth quarter 2018 results were a mixed bag, but Wall Street focused on the negative, and its shares took a beating after the Bentonville, Ark. giant reported a sharp decline in profit and slower-than expected growth in e-commerce sales.Net income plummeted 42.1 percent to $2.17 billion, or 73 cents a share, from $3.76 billion, or $1.22 per share in the 2017 fourth quarter. Analysts were expecting EPS of $1.37 per share. Fiscal 2018 net income declined 27.7 percent to $9.86 billion from $13.64 billion in 2017. EPS for fiscal 2018 declined 25.2 percent to $3.29 from $4.40 in the prior fiscal year.Net sales in the 2018 fourth quarter increased 4.2 percent to $135.15 billion, from $129.75 billion in the year-ago period. For fiscal year 2018, net sales rose 3 percent to $495.76 billion, from $481.3 billion the previous year. Comp-store sales grew 2.6 percent and traffic rose 1.6 percent.Walmart Inc. chief executive officer Doug McMillon during a conference call with analysts, said of walmart.com's sales growth rate, "most of that was planned. We expected a lower growth rate since we were lapping Jet.com. Seasonal spikes came into our fulfillment centers that harmed our basic in-stock. We're learning to deal with higher volumes and higher peaks, but most of that was planned."

Walmart.com e-commerce sales in the fourth quarter grew 23 percent to $11.5 billion, and 40 percent for the year. 

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