Walmart Inc. on Tuesday told investors that it anticipates a financial impact in the first quarter and potentially the second quarter to its China business as a result of COVID-19, the novel coronavirus that has sickened more than 75,000 people worldwide. “Due to the current sales mix slanted heavily toward food and consumables, as well as some increased expenses related to the outbreak, we could see a couple of cents negative impact in Q1,” Walmart CFO Brett Biggs said, according to a FactSet transcript of the earnings call. The outbreak, which has largely shut down parts of China, negatively impacting retailers, restaurants and the supply chain, hasn’t had a major impact on Walmart’s sourcing operations in China, however. Many retailers have had to close some of their stores in China; however, Walmart said all of its stores are open, although the majority of the Walmart stores there have restricted hours and some restricted options. The company did not include an impact from the virus outbreak in its guidance. Walmart’s stock has gained 17% over the past year, compared with the S&P 500 , which is up 21%.
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