BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Wal-Mart Stores here last week said net profits during the fiscal fourth quarter improved by 8.6%, helped by lower than expected tax rates and modest gains in holiday sales. Overall sales for the quarter, which ended Jan. 27, improved 3.9% to $127.1 billion. In the U.S., sales during the quarter improved by 2.6% to $74.7 billion, with comparable-store sales up by 1%. Bill Simon, chief executive officer of Walmart U.S., said comps in the current first quarter ...

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