Wal-Mart Profit Shrinks After Weak Holiday Sales

Wal-Mart on Thursday reported full-year net income tumbled to $16 billion, down by nearly $1 billion from the previous year. The holiday season was especially disappointing.

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with weak sales at Wal-Mart.

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INSKEEP: The retail giant posted its fourth-quarter profit yesterday. Now it still was a profit, so don't cry for Wal-Mart. But that profit was down 21 percent from the same time last year. Wal-Mart also gave a weak forecast for the year ahead.

And think about the reasons here. Company executives attribute the disappointing earnings to sluggish holiday sales, severe winter storms, and cuts in the federal food stamp program. More than half of Wal-Mart sales come from groceries.

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