Walton family fortune falls by $12.9 bn after Walmart slashes earnings outlook

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The Walton family fortune fell $12.9 billion on Tuesday after Walmart Inc. slashed its earnings outlook for the second time this year, Bloomberg reported.

Shares of the Bentonville, Arkansas-based retailer, which is controlled by the family, tumbled as much as 9.1 per cent in New York trading after it said, adjusted earnings per share will decline as much as 13 per cent this year with US shoppers reining in spending on big-ticket items amid soaring consumer prices. Two months ago, the company said, earnings per share would only dip about 1 per cent, while in February, it had predicted a modest increase.

The family’s late patriarch, Sam Walton, built the business around a discount culture that has, in the past, helped buoy its stock during recessionary times. In revising its outlook, Walmart cited the cost of reducing merchandise stockpiles that customers were increasingly reluctant to buy as inflation hits a four-decade high, Bloomberg reported.

Walton’s three surviving children, Alice, Jim and Rob, daughter-in-law Christy and Christy’s son, Lukas, own just under half of the retailer. That gives them a combined net worth of about $198 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, down by 11 per cent since the first of the year.

The Walton family, which owns its Walmart stake through various trusts, has stepped up its stock sales in recent years. They unloaded $6.2 billion in shares last year, which the company has said, is part of a strategy to keep the family’s stake under 50 per cent amid buybacks.

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