How Wal-Mart Keeps Getting It Right

Unlike fellow consumer giants McDonald's and Home Depot, few barriers seem capable of crimping the savvy discounter's growth

Last year, while its peers struggled to cope with faltering consumer spending, Wal-Mart (WMT ) kept charging ahead. The world's largest retailer reported a 20% increase in earnings, to $8.2 billion, on revenue that grew 12%, to $245 billion, for the fiscal year ended Jan. 31. This year could be even more difficult for the retailing industry if fallout from the Iraq war takes its toll.

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