Kroger’s stock soars, while Walmart sees earnings fall
While the United States grocery industry has been rocked in recent weeks by closings and bankruptcies, Kroger is benefitting from a massive investment by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway.
Shares in Kroger’s stock soared on 17 February, after Securities and Exchange Commission filings revealed that Berkshire Hathaway invested USD 549 million (EUR 508 million) for a 2.4 percent stake in the retail giant in the fourth quarter of 2019.
Kroger has been on a mission to boost grocery sales — both in-store and online — with its Restock Kroger program and its recent brand transformation campaign, dubbed “Fresh for Everyone.”
Meanwhile, Walmart’s 2019 fourth quarter sales fell short of analysts’ estimates. The U.S. grocery sales leader’s revenue was USD 141.67 billion (EUR 131 billion) versus the USD 142.49 billion (EUR 132 billion) expected, while same-store sales grew 1.9 percent versus the 2.3 percent that was projected.
“The fourth quarter wasn’t our best,” Walmart CEO Doug McMillon told CNBC.
While its e-commerce sales soared 35 percent in the fourth quarter, Walmart said that its e-commerce growth will slow in 2020. Nevertheless, the retailer remains the e-commerce grocery leader, far surpassing its competitors such as Amazon and Target.
Although Walmart International’s overall sales rose 2.3 percent, disruption in Chile caused a USD 110 million (EUR 109 million) drop in operating income.
Walmart also said that its earnings in China could be impacted by the coronavirus in the first and second quarters of 2020.
Photo courtesy of Walmart