The Board of Directors of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., approved an 18 percent increase in the dividend to 28 cents ($0.28) per share annually. The dividend is payable quarterly at the rate of 7 cents ($0.07) with the first payable date on April 9, 2001 to shareholders of record on March 23, 2001. Based upon this announced increase, the Company plans to return more than 1.2 billion dollars to its shareholders this year. Wal-Mart has increased its dividend every year since its first declared dividend in March, 1974.