A rare miss for Walmart to end the year

NEW YORK (AP) – Walmart is reporting disappointing fourth-quarter profits and sales. The nation’s largest retailer says sales at its U.S. stores heading into the holiday season were weaker than expected. It also said social unrest in Chile hurt its business. The company is reporting strong sales in grocery, helped by its expanded online delivery services. But the company saw slower demand of such holiday items as clothing and gaming, resulting in a 1.9% increase in same-store sales for the quarter. The company also reported that e-commerce sales rose 35%, a slower pace from the 41% in the previous quarter. The results come as Walmart and Amazon are locked in an arms race to bring packages faster and faster to customers’ homes.

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