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Wal-Mart up for fourth quarter and year

Bentonnville, Ark.-based Wal-Mart Stores reported net income for its fourth quarter ended Jan. 31, 2008, at $4.1 billion, up 4 percent from $3.9 billion from the same quarter in 2007. The company reported net sales at $106.2 billion, up 8.3 percent from $98.1 billion last year.

For the year, the company reported net income of 12.7 billion, up 12.8 percent from $11.3 billion last year. The company reported net sales for the year at $374.5 billion, up 8.5 percent from $344.9 billion last year. Non-fuel comp-store sales in the United States were up 1.7 percent for the three months, and up 1.4 percent for the full year. 

“For the fourth quarter, we topped $100 billion in sales, the first time in history that any retailer has reached this milestone in a single quarter,” said Lee Scott, Wal-Mart Stores president and CEO. “We had a very strong underlying operating performance, exceeding our expectations for the quarter. In addition to another year of record sales and earnings, we also delivered a record return to our shareholders this year through more than $11 billion in share repurchase and dividends.”

Scott attributed the company’s strong results on Wal-Mart’s price leadership and improved customer service, especially in the United States.

“The price leadership strategy we put in place at the beginning of the year was exactly the right strategy for our customers around the world in a tough economic environment,” Scott said. “The combination of price leadership and improved customer service made the difference in the fourth quarter for our U.S. operations,” he said.