retail news in context, analysis with attitude

• Wal-Mart said that its fourth quarter profit was up 9.8 percent to $3.94 billion, compared to the same period a year ago. Sales were up 11 percent to $98.1 billion, on same-store sales that were up just 1.6 percent.

The company attributed much of its good news to strong performances by its Walmex unit in Mexico and its Asda unit in the UK.

• Winn-Dixie reported a second quarter profit that was up 21 percent to $286.8 million from $237.5 million in the prior year's quarter. Sales rose 9 percent to $1.16 billion from $1.07 billion in the second quarter of 2006, with same-store sales down 0.5 percent.

However, Winn-Dixie also said that in the first eight weeks of the quarter – before it emerge from bankruptcy protection - it earned a profit of $296.7 million, and then recorded a $10 million loss in the second eight weeks of the quarter.
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