Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has warned that its financial results for the fiscal fourth quarter will be less rosy than expected. The world’s largest retailer now says profit may fall a bit short of the low end of its earlier forecast of $1.60 (U.S.) to $1.70 a share for the quarter ended Jan. 31.
It’s the latest sign that all is not well in the fiercely competitive retail arena. Vicious price competition is rocking the industry. And Wal-Mart, like other big discount retailers, faces a new problem in its core U.S. market, where the poor are spending less on such essentials as food, clothing and pharmaceuticals as benefit cuts hit home.