Walmart on Thursday reported fourth-quarter earnings that fell short of Wall Street’s expectations as the retailer aims to turn the strength of its e-commerce business during the pandemic into lasting momentum and higher profits by boosting investment.

Shares were down nearly 6% Thursday morning, as investors reacted to the retailer’s warning that it expects sales to moderate this year. It said earnings per share will decline, but will range flat to slightly higher after excluding divestitures.

The big-box retailer has benefited from pandemic trends, as Americans buy more groceries, cleaning products and other essentials. It also got a boost in the fiscal fourth quarter as many customers spent their stimulus checks. But the pandemic has also increased its costs — in the fourth quarter alone Covid-related expenses tallied $1.1 billion.

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