Neil Ashe has some explaining to do

President and CEO of Walmart Global eCommerce, Neil Ashe, made a cameo appearance during Walmart’s fourth quarter earnings presentation to shed light on omnichannel investments that caused the company to forecast 2013 profits below analysts’ estimates.

Walmart’s forecast first quarter earnings in the range of $1.11 to $1.16 and full year earnings in the range of $5.20 to $5.40. Embedded in those numbers are huge investments in ecommerce that will cost the company about nine cents a share.

"We are excited about the opportunities these investments will provide," said Walmart CFO Charles Holley.

An expense impact of nine cents a share at a company the size of Walmart is more than material, so Ashe was included in the roster of speakers commenting on results. He provided details on Walmart’s fundamental ecommerce strategy which entails four strategic priorities: to excel in the fundamentals of e-commerce, innovate in new areas like big data, social and mobile, win key markets such as the U.S., the U.K., Brazil, uniting and expanding the Walmart platform to do what no one else can do, and build a best-in-class e-commerce that can be combined with the retail footprint to deliver to customers what no one else can deliver.

"To realize these strategies, we’re developing a global technology platform, and we are investing in local assortment and fulfillment capabilities in each of our markets. We are becoming known for our ability to build and deploy technology