(Updates with dividend in final paragraph.)
Feb. 20 (Bloomberg) -- Wal-Mart de Mexico SAB, Latin America’s largest retailer, reported a 26 percent gain in fourth-quarter profit as a government-sponsored holiday sales weekend boosted demand.
Net income rose to 8.23 billion pesos ($648 million) from 6.54 billion a year earlier, the Mexico City-based company said today in a filing. Sales rose 16 percent to 116 billion pesos, close to the average estimate of 117 billion pesos of nine analysts polled by Bloomberg.
Wal-Mart de Mexico planned more store openings for the first half of the year and remodeled other locations to get prepared for shopping around Christmas. Store openings for 2011 rose to 441 from 297 the previous year. The company had forecast 445 openings in February 2011.
Sales benefited from a plan, backed by President Felipe Calderon, for Mexican retailers to host four days of holiday discounts in November, emulating Black Friday in the U.S. Sales in stores open 12 months or more jumped 12.6 percent in November from the previous year, the biggest advance since December 2006.
Wal-Mart de Mexico, which is 69 percent owned by Bentonville, Arkansas-based Wal-Mart Stores Inc., gained 0.5 percent to 39.67 pesos at the close in Mexico City before results were announced. The shares have gained 14 percent in the past year.
The company plans to ask shareholders to approve dividends of 55 centavos a share in a meeting March 27, it said today.
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