Wal-Mart Stores today (21 February) set a forecast for first-quarter earnings below analyst estimates amid caution over the economy and consumer confidence.

The world’s largest retailer said it expects first-quarter earnings per share of US$1.11 to $1.16. It compared to a forecast of $1.19 according to a Bloomberg poll of 18 analysts.

“These estimates consider current economic factors that are affecting customers in many of our markets,” Wal-Mart CFO Charles Holley said.

The outlook came as Wal-Mart reported higher profits and sales for the last three months of its last financial year and for the 12 months as a whole.

Annual net income was up 8.3% on a 5% rise in total revenue. Sales and operating income increased in the US and from Wal-Mart’s international operations. Comparable-store sales in the US, excluding fuel, increased 0.2%.

CEO Mike Duke called the 12 months a “really good year” for Wal-Mart. Looking ahead, Holley added: “We know there are challenges ahead, but we believe our strong financial position, along with our EDLC and EDLP operating model.”

How well do you really know your competitors?

Access the most comprehensive Company Profiles on the market, powered by GlobalData. Save hours of research. Gain competitive edge.

Company Profile – free sample

Thank you!

Your download email will arrive shortly

Not ready to buy yet? Download a free sample

We are confident about the unique quality of our Company Profiles. However, we want you to make the most beneficial decision for your business, so we offer a free sample that you can download by submitting the below form

By GlobalData

Shares in Wal-Mart were up 2.15% at $70.70 at 10:15 ET. Wal-Mart lifted its dividend for 2014, which helped boost the shares.

Click here for the full release.

Check back later for more detailed coverage of the company’s results.