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Feb 18, 2021

Walmart reports US$5.7 billion non-cash loss related to Asda sale

The major retail shift Walmart has seen amid the pandemic is here to stay: CEO

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Walmart Inc. recorded a US$5.7 billion non-cash loss on its sale of U.K. grocer Asda Group, more than double the amount the retailer expected when it agreed to October to offload the chain.

The loss, recognized in the fiscal fourth quarter ended Jan. 31, includes both a hit from the sale and an impact from the derecognition of Asda’s pension plan, according to a regulatory filing Thursday. Walmart also said it expects a reduction in earnings of 20 cents a share this year as a result of the sale of ASDA to a group including TDR Capital.

The financial toll is the latest blow to the world’s largest retailer in its affiliation with Asda, which has struggled amid competition with German discounters Aldi and Lidl. Walmart, which bought the European company in 1999, had sought to unload Asda for at least two years. Antitrust regulators blocked an earlier attempt to sell Asda to Sainsbury for 7.3 billion pounds in 2019.

The retailer has pulled back from more mature markets like the U.K. and Japan in recent years to focus on growth opportunities in nations such as Mexico and India. The company is pushing its Indian e-commerce subsidiary Flipkart to go public, and it is also planning to add 30 more Sam’s Club locations in Mexico and China in the next three years.

Walmart shares were little changed in post-market trading in New York.