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Wal-Mart’s 4th-Qtr. Earn Climb

February 16, 1999

BENTONVILLE, Ark. (AP) _ Wal-Mart Stores Inc.’s fourth-quarter earnings rose a better-than-expected 21 percent from a year ago as the world’s largest retailer continued to attract shoppers with its affordable prices and wide selection.

Wal-Mart said Tuesday that it earned $1.56 billion, or 70 cents a share, in the fourth quarter ended Jan. 31, compared with $1.29 billion, of 57 cents a share, in the same period a year ago.

Sales rose to $40.79 billion in the latest fourth quarter from $35.39 billion a year ago. Sales at stores open at least a year, a gauge retailers use to measure performance, were up 8.7 percent.

Wal-Mart’s results topped Wall Street analysts’ estimates. Its stock was up $3 at $87.37 1/2 on the New York Stock Exchange.

Sales at Wal-Mart’s U.S. discount stores and supercenters rose 14 percent in the fourth quarter, while sales climbed 26 percent in its international division. Its Sam’s Clubs warehouse stores saw a 12 percent gain in revenues.

At the end of the quarter, the company operated 1,869 Wal-Mart discount stores, 564 supercenters which include grocery and discount stores, and 451 Sam’s Clubs in the United States. Internationally, Wal-Mart has 13 stores in Argentina, 14 in Brazil, 153 in Canada, 95 in Germany, 416 in Mexico, and 15 in Puerto Rico. It also has joint venture agreements in China and Korea.

For the year, Wal-Mart earned $4.43 billion, or $1.98 a share, compared with $3.53 billion, or $1.56 a share, in the same period a year ago. Sales were $137.6 billion, compared with $117.96 billion a year ago.

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