Revenues grew modestly, but profits took a tumble as Walmart reported its fourth quarter and full year financials. The Bentonville-based retail giant reported fourth quarter net income of $4.43 billion on sales of $128.8 billion, an increase of 1.4 percent over last year. The quarter included the negative impact of approximately $1.8 billion from currency exchange rate fluctuations. Last year, Walmart posted fourth quarter profits of $5.86 billion on revenue of $127.77 billion.
For the full year, Walmart posted net income of $16 billion on revenue of $476.29 billion, a 1.6% boost in sales and membership income. However, full year profits were down 5.7% compared to $16.99 billion one year ago.
Murphy USA posts $93 million Q4 profit
Murphy USA, the retail spinoff of Murphy Oil Corp., posted fourth quarter profits of $93.6 million on revenue of $4.19 billion. For the full year, El Dorado-based Murphy USA posted net income of $235 million on revenue of $18 billion.
Car-mart earnings slip
America’s Car Mart posted lower earnings as charge-offs and competition reduced net income in its most recent quarter. The Bentonville-based "buy here, pay here" used car dealer reported third quarter net income of $1.47 million on revenue of $122.58 million. One year ago, Car-Mart topped $7.97 million in profits on revenue of $118.92 million. Same-store sales were down 2.8% year-over-year. In its most recent quarter ended Jan. 31, Car-Mart charged off $4.9 million resulting from an increase to its allowance for credit losses.
Darin Gray named president of CJRW
Cranford Johnson Robinson Woods, Arkansas’ largest advertising, marketing and public relations firm, has named Darin Gray as President of the firm. Wayne Woods will continue to serve as Chairman and CEO. Gray will assume his duties immediately and will continue to live in Northwest Arkansas where the agency has an office location. CJRW is headquartered in Little Rock.
$58 Million medical school planned for Chaffee Crossing
A $58 million investment from the Fort Smith Regional Healthcare Foundation (FSRHF) and a grant of 200 acres from the Fort Chaffee Redevelopment Authority (FCRA) will lead to Arkansas’ first osteopathic medical school. The medical school, which will be one of only 31 in the U.S., is estimated to have a $100 million annual economic impact on the region. Doctors of Osteopathy Medicine (D.O.) can perform some of the services of a primary care physician, which rural areas of Arkansas and the nation are lacking.
Lottery projections drop on declining sales
The Arkansas Lottery is seeing a trajectory of lower revenue, and commission members charged with its oversight are searching for turnaround solutions. The state Lottery Commission on Wednesday adopted a revised budget forecast that lowers projected net proceeds for the current fiscal year from $89.5 million to $82.8 million. Lottery officials said declining scratch off ticket sales and a raffle game that lost money were primarily to blame.
Private option votes firm up in senate
On Tuesday, Sen. Jane English, R-North Little Rock, a long-time advocate for restructuring workforce education and training in Arkansas, said she has received support from fellow lawmakers and Gov. Mike Beebe to fundamentally alter programs tied to workforce investment. As a result, she said she would vote to fund the private option after previously opposing the insurance plan.
English, a former director of the state’s Workforce Investment Board at the Department of Workforce Services (DWS) and a one-time project manager at the Arkansas Economic Development Commission (AEDC), said altering workforce training and providing health insurance for working Arkansans are connected.
Heber Springs Mayor Jackie McPherson to challenge Crawford
Heber Springs Mayor Jackie McPherson announced Thursday he would run as a Democrat for the 1st Congressional District seat, challenging two-term incumbent Repiublican U.S. Rep. Rick Crawford of Jonesboro. McPherson, a self-described "fiscal conservative," has served as mayor of Heber Springs since 2007, after serving on the City Council for 12 years.
(Roby Brock, a freelance journalist based in Little Rock, writes weekly for the Arkansas News Bureau.)