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Slowed in U.S., Wal-Mart finds growth abroad

BENTONVILLE — Helped by an earnings turnaround at its Sam's Club unit, and continued growth abroad, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. recorded a fourth-quarter profit of $2.7 billion, up 8.5 percent from $2.5 billion last year.

Sales at the world's largest retailer — also the world's largest public company — climbed at a double-digit pace, rising by 12.1 percent, to $74.5 billion from $66.4 billion last year, with international expansion still the company's fastest-growing segment.

Sales in U.S. stores grew by 11.3 percent, to $50.6 billion from $45.5 billion last year, a relatively subdued pace compared with the 25 and 30 percent increases the company was putting up a few years ago. Picking up some of the slack was the retailer's international operation, where sales grew almost twice as fast, rising by 17.3 percent, to $14.3 billion from $12.2 billion last year. Sam's Clubs grew by 9.5 percent, to $9.6 billion from $8.7 billion.

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