Wal-Mart, Target post strong sales and profits

Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the world’s largest retailer, said its profits rose 16.2% for the November-January period. Its earnings for the full year topped $10 billion for the first time. Meanwhile, discount rival Target Corp.’s quarterly profits inched up only 0.1%. However the retail chain capped a year when earning soared almost 77%. Target, also outpaces Wal-Mart in sales growth at stores open at least a year.

Both companies issued their quarterly and annual reports on Thursday.

Wal-Mart, based in Bentonville, Ark., earned $3.2 billion for the quarter, up from $2.7 billion a year ago. Wal-Mart’s overall revenue rose 10.4% to $83 billion from $75.2 billion a year earlier.

For the year, Wal-Mart earned $10.3 billion, up from $9.1 billion, a year earlier. The company had overall revenue of $288.2 billion for the year, up from $258.7 billion a year earlier.

Same-store sales at Wal-Mart U.S. rose 1.5% in the quarter and 3.3% for the fiscal year. That was at the low end of the company’s projection of gains of between 3% and 5% at the start of the year.

Target, based in Minneapolis, earned $825 million in the three months ended Jan. 29, up from $823 millionduring the same period a year ago. Excluding results from the Marshall Field’s and Mervyn’s department store chains that Target sold last year, earnings rose 12%.

Revenue rose 11.1% to $15.2 billion from $13.7 billion a year earlier. Same-store sales, rose 5.4%.

For the full year, Target earned $3.2 billion, up from $1.8 billion a year earlier. Revenue rose 11.5% to $46.8 billion from $42 billion a year earlier.