Wal-Mart Stores Inc on Thursday posted a 16.2 per cent increase in fourth quarter profits.

The world's largest retailer earned $3.16 billion, or 75 cents a share, for the three months ended 31 January, up from $2.72 billion, or 63 cents a share, a year ago.

Overall revenue rose to $83.02 billion from $75.19 billion a year earlier, boosted by price cuts and advertising initiatives. US same-store sales rose 1.5 per cent in the quarter.

For the year, Wal-Mart earned $10.27 billion, or $2.41 a share, up from $9.05 billion, or $2.07 a share, a year earlier. US same-store sales rose 3.3 per cent for the fiscal year.

"In the year just completed, we added almost $29 billion in sales and topped $10 billion in net income for the first time in our history," said Wal-Mart president and chief executive Lee Scott.

He added: "It was a solid performance, but we can do better."

Wal-Mart's shares rose 28 cents to $52.80 in morning trading on the New York Stock Exchange, but are closer to their 52-week low of $51.08 than their high of $61.31.

Wal-Mart forecasts first quarter earnings per share of 56-58 cents, with full year earnings to be between $2.70 and $2.74.