By  on February 17, 2009

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. demonstrated the importance of price on Tuesday when it posted fourth-quarter profits that beat expectations and sales that were its highest ever.

The retailer said net profits for the three months ended Jan. 31 dropped 7.4 percent to $3.8 billion, or 96 cents a diluted share, from $4.1 billion, or $1.02 a diluted share, a year earlier, but the numbers beat the company’s previously lowered forecast. Last month, Wal-Mart reduced its profit estimates for the quarter to a range of 91 cents to 94 cents a share from the $1.03 to $1.07 previously expected. Revenues for the quarter inched up 1.7 percent to a record-breaking $109.1 billion from $107.3 billion.

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