Low Prices Excel Business in Bargain-Hungry Economy

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By Lisa Kunkel

NEW YORK (AP) - Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is reporting a 10.1 percent increase in first-quarter profit as the world's largest retailer's re-emphasis on low prices continues to woo back bargain-hungry shoppers in an uncertain economy.

Wal-Mart says that it earned $3.74 billion, or $1.09 per share, in the quarter ended April 30. That compares with $3.39 billion, or 97 cents per share, in the year-ago period.

Net sales excluding membership fees from Sam's Club rose 8.6 percent to $112.2 billion.

Analysts had expected $1.04 per share on net sales of $110.5 billion.

Revenue at stores opened at least a year rose 2.6 percent at its Wal-Mart's namesake U.S. division. That's above the 1.4 percent estimate from Wall Street.

The company is offering an upbeat profit outlook for the current quarter.

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