Discount retailer Wal-Mart on Thursday reported
a fourth-quarter profit of 5.6 billion dollars, an increase of 7.9
per cent over the same period a year ago.
Revenue was up nearly 4 per cent to 127 billion dollars in the November-January time span.
The largest retailer in the world said its fourth-quarter and full-year performance benefited from a lower-than-expected effective tax rate, especially in the United States.
Income for the year was 17 billion dollars, an increase of 7.8 per cent from the year before. The effective tax rate for the full year was 31 per cent, compared to a previous rate of 32.6 per cent.
Net sales for the full fiscal year were 466 billion dollars, an increase of 5 per cent over fiscal 2012. Membership and other income added 3 billion dollars, bringing the total revenue to 469.2 billion. Wal-Mart International accounted for 135 billion dollars of the total.
"Walmart topped off a really good year with a solid fourth quarter and I'm proud of what we accomplished as a team," said Mike Duke, president and chief executive.
Duke has been working to keep prices low amid delayed tax refunds and a payroll tax break that expired on December 31. That change lowered take-home pay as Americans' Social Security contributions went up 2 percentage points.
The tax increases combined with higher gas prices resulted in the worst monthly start in seven years at Wal-Mart stores in February, Bloomberg News reported. Results in January also were disappointing.
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