By Lauren Debter
The Walton family’s heirs have lost a staggering $ 33.7 billion in the past two days as the value of their family’s retail giant, Walmart, continues to plummet.
The reason for this? The company said Tuesday that its profits had been hit by rising costs for everything from products to shipping and labor. As a result, net income for the quarter to April was down 25% from a year earlier, with earnings per share lower than analysts’ estimates.
Investors reacted badly, with the stock losing 11.4% yesterday, recording the worst daily drop since 1987. The plunge did not end there, with shares falling by almost 7% on Wednesday. While the market generally recorded losses on Wednesday, it was sharper than the 4% loss of the S&P 500.
“Our first quarter performance is a disappointment for us and we will leave it behind and have a strong year,” Walmart CEO Doug McMillon said in the company’s earnings call.
The bulk of the losses hit Jim, Rob and Alice Walton, children of founder Sam Walton, who have seen $ 9 billion each disappear from their fortunes in the past two days. The fortune of their sister-in-law Christy Walton, the wife of the late brother John, has shrunk by more than $ 1 billion. Luke’s son, who received a larger share of his father’s fortune, saw losses of more than $ 2 billion.
Ann Walton Kroenke and sister Nancy Walton Lowry, who inherited a stake in the company from their father, Bad Walton (Sam’s brother), also lost more than $ 1 billion each.
The Waltons, who together own about half of Walmart’s stock, are still very rich, with a total fortune of $ 212 billion, according to Forbes. Jim remains the 19th richest man in the world with a fortune of $ 59 billion, followed by sister Alice (No. 20 with $ 58.1 billion) and brother Rob (No. 21 with $ 57.9 billion).