The world's largest retailer reported a lower fiscal fourth quarter profit as store and e-commerce infrastructure improvements fail to lure more customers. Shartia Brantley reports.
Sprucing up stores and online presence didn't help Wal-Mart in the fourth quarter. The world's largest retailer took a hit from falling grocery prices and weak demand for clothes. Wal-Mart reported a lower quarterly profit and cut its sales forecast. It did record its sixth straight quarterly gain in U.S. same-store sales, but still fell short of expectations. Mary Epner, retail analyst: (SOUNDBITE) MARY EPNER, PRINCIPAL, MARY EPNER RETAIL ANALYSIS (ENGLISH) SAYING: "They have to get back to their DNA, and they need to understand what macro trends are happening, and translate those to their Wal-Mart customer the way they used to do. Their stores remained unchanged in terms of assortment in the past five to eight years, yet the customer's taste and preference have changed." Epner says, Wal-Mart should look into reviving and reorganizing its departments, like apparel, electronics, and, especially, its fresh foods section, given the size of its grocery stores. Wal-Mart has been renovating stores and building out its e-commerce infrastructure to better compete with companies like Amazon. Its also been dealing with costs from raising entry-level wages.