Walmart (WMT) Has Found a Winning Formula

If December's reported lull in retail spending was supposed to be a sign of waning consumerism, Walmart (WMT) didn't get the memo. The world's biggest retailer posted blowout fourth-quarter numbers, topping earnings and revenue estimates on surprisingly strong same-store sales growth. That sparked a swelling of optimism in shareholders, who extended a strong year-to-date rally in WMT stock.

For the quarter ended Jan. 31, Walmart turned $138.8 billion worth of revenue into per-share adjusted earnings of $1.41. Analysts were only modeling profits of $1.33 per share, a slight improvement on the $1.30 earned a year ago. Sales were up 1.9% year-over-year and topped analyst estimates of $138.7 billion.

The absence of Toys "R" Us on the

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