Wal-Mart – the world’s largest retailer – has reported a 22% drop in quarterly profit and given a weaker-than-expected earnings forecast for the coming year.
Net income for Q1 2014 fell to $4.4 billion from $5.6 billion a year earlier.
Wal-Mart said tough winter weather, cuts to government benefits and higher taxes contributed to the fall.
The retailer said reduced food-stamp benefits had been partly behind its lower profits, along with competition from heavy discounting during the holiday season.
Its total revenue for the quarter rose by 1.4% to $129.7 billion.
Wal-Mart said it expected net sales this year would grow at the lower end of its earlier forecast of 3%-5%.
Its earnings forecasts for this year also fell short of analysts’ forecasts.
Wal-Mart expects profits to be between $5.10 and $5.45 per share, against expectations of about $5.54.
Chief executive Doug McMillon said he would “innovate to improve productivity” to keep prices low.
He added: “We will invest aggressively in e-commerce and increase our small store rollout in the US, as we have done in several other countries, to deliver value and convenience.”
Wal-Mart would keep focusing on providing “supercentres” and smaller stores closer to customers’ homes, he said.