So much for that impenetrable force field of technology acquisitions and that brick-and-mortar moat that was supposed to protect Walmart (WMT - Get Report) from the ongoing threat of Amazon (AMZN - Get Report) .
Shares of the Arkansas-based retailer slumped 10% Tuesday, dragging down the Dow down with it, just after the world's largest retailer earned $1.33 a share on an adjusted basis in the fourth quarter, below analysts' forecasts of $1.37, and said online sales growth slowed.
It's an interesting turn of events for the retailer, which has spent much of the past few years bulking up its technology offerings through acquisitions of Bonobos and Jet.com. The company says it will spend less on marketing for Jet.com, in particular, as it looks to build up awareness of Walmart.com. The winding down, or at least the lack of emphasis on Jet.com, was something many in the industry had expected after the Bentonville, Ark., company shelled out $3 billion on it a few years ago. It was a pure technology play, pundits said at the time.
Even despite the lackluster earnings figures and subdued e-commerce growth (that segment only produce 23% growth in the quarter compared to 50% last quarter) Walmart continued to take its battles against Amazon to new levels. The company is reportedly set to spend just under $5 billion for a 40% stake in India's largest digital commerce company, Flipkart. Amazon and Alibaba (BABA - Get Report) had been battling over the country for some time and it seems Walmart wants to get some skin in the game as well.
For others that are unsure about their future as a retailer of food, toiletries and even prescription drugs, what do you do? Well, if you listen to the trends, you should just buy part of Rite Aid (RAD - Get Report) .
The deal puts Albertsons' leverage at about 3.8 times Ebitda, and comes after Albertsons Cos. alongside Winn Dixie parent Bi-Lo, had their debt downgraded by Moody's in recent months. Though Albertsons gains access to the steadier revenue flow of a pharmacy chain, the merger with Rite Aid brings two industries that are encroaching on each other's territory even closer together.
A combined Albertsons-Rite Aid would mark another significant change in the U.S. retail landscape, which was upended last summer by Amazon's $13.7 billion purchase of Whole Foods Markets. As Walgreens and Albertsons dive deeper into retail operations, CVS Health (CVS - Get Report) is delving deeper into healthcare, with its acquisition of Aetna (AET) , that will close later this year.
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Photo of the day: Bullish on the future of toys
Anybody paying attention knows the toy industry has has a rough go lately, just ask Toys 'R' Us and its backers at Bain Capital and KKR & Co. Well, despite the struggles of retailers, Hasbro CEO Brian Goldner is bullish on the future of toys especially after his company unveiled a new line of toys inspired by Disney's (DIS - Get Report) Star Wars franchise. "Our retail footprint is bigger than ever before," Hasbro CEO Brian Goldner told TheStreet in a recent interview at the company's annual toy exhibition when asked about the Toys 'R' Us situation. "We don't see a long-term impact of from the Toys 'R' Us bankruptcy." Read more
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