BENTONVILLE, Ark. -- Wal-Mart Stores here reported lower earnings for the fourth quarter ended Jan. 31 -- its first down quarter since 1970, when the company went public. Although sales and earnings reached record levels for the year, net income for the fourth quarter fell 9% to $942 million, or 41 cents per share, vs. $1.03 billion, or 45 cents per share, a year ago. The company attributed the decline to "the difficult economic environment."
Net income for the year rose 2% to $2.7 bi