NEW YORK -- Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is reporting an 8.6 percent increase in fourth-quarter profit. But the world's largest retailer offered a subdued outlook as its low-income shoppers continue to be squeezed by economic challenges.
Wal-Mart says it earned $5.6 billion, or $1.67 per share, in the quarter ended Jan. 31. That's up from $5.16 billion, or $1.50 per share, a year earlier.
Net sales rose 3.9 percent to $127.1 billion.
Earnings topped estimates of $1.57 per share, but net sales fell short of the $127.8 billion estimate.
The company, based in Bentonville, Ark., says revenue at stores open at least a year rose 1 percent for its namesake U.S. business for the quarter, below the 1.5 percent estimate from Thomson Reuters.
Wal-Mart also raised its quarterly dividend by 18 percent.