The world’s biggest retailer on Tuesday reported profit that fell short of Wall Street expectations and downgraded its outlook for full-year earnings per share from a mid-single digit increase to a 1% decline. Chief Executive Officer Doug McMillon said the bottom-line results were “unexpected” and reflecte the “unusual” environment. Walmart shares tumbled more than 11% on Tuesday, the most in 35 years.
The threat of U.S. stagflation has investors treating supermarkets and other consumer staples companies like the high-flying tech stocks of yesteryear. The shares have trounced their consumer discretionary peers by the widest margin in two decades, and the outperformance probably has room to continue.
Whether choosing restaurant dinners delivered to their door or at-home meal kits, many Americans have prioritized convenience over cost for the past two years. Food delivery was a big beneficiary. Now accelerating inflation, combined with easing fears about eating in restaurants as Covid cases drop, threaten to deflate the delivery boom. I
Flush from soaring stock markets and surging cryptocurrencies, the U.S. was the surprise leader of the luxury sector last year, as people splashed out on everything from Cartier jewelry to Christian Dior handbags.
Walk into a U.S. supermarket, and chances are you’ll see some empty shelves once more. It’s an unwelcome throwback to earlier stages of the pandemic.
Once we get the pandemic under control, working from home will be welcomed by cost-cutting companies and staff who dread the daily commute. But for the owners of commercial property the consequences may be severe.