Walmart reported Thursday strong fourth-quarter sales amid the upheaval of the coronavirus pandemic, but shares fell sharply as it announced costly investments on technology and higher wages.

The retail giant reported a fourth-quarter loss of $2.1 billion from the accounting for asset sales, compared with profits of $4.1 billion in the year-ago period. Revenues rose 7.3% to $152.1 billion.

Shares fell about five% after the company announced a steep increase in capital spending.

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Walmart will ramp up investments on automation and supply chain improvements and boost wages for some 425,000 US workers as it works to build on the momentum from the pandemic when it picked up new customers and grew its e-commerce operation.

"Our business is strong, and we're making it even stronger with targeted investments to accelerate growth," said Chief Executive Doug McMillon.

"This is a time to be even more aggressive because of the opportunity we see in front of us."

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The company projected capital spending of $14 billion in fiscal 2022 compared with $10.3 billon in the year that just ended.

The wage increases will lift Walmart's US employee average wage to above $15 per hour. However, Walmart did not alter its national minimum wage, which is currently $11 an hour.

Shares fell 4.7 percent to $140.35.

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