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The Boston Globe

Business

Walmart wary about economy even as profit rises

NEW YORK — Walmart, the world’s largest retailer, on Thursday reported an 8.6 percent rise in quarterly profit, due to a smaller tax rate, but offered a tempered forecast as the lower- to lower-middle income shoppers it caters to struggle with delayed tax refunds and higher payroll taxes.

Walmart Stores Inc. is among several companies, including Burger King and the jewelry retailer Zale, that have warned shoppers are being hurt by smaller paychecks and delayed tax refunds. Because Walmart accounts for nearly 10 percent of US nonautomotive retail spending, it is seen as a bellwether.

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