Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT), the world’s largest retailer increased its quarterly dividends as the company recorded a strong financial performance during the fourth quarter.

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According to the retail giant, its board of directors approved the payment of an annual cash dividend of $1.88 per share for the fiscal year 2014. The annual dividend payment represents an 18 percent increase from the $1.59 per share distributed by Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) during the fiscal 2013.

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) said the $1.88 annual dividend payment will be distributed to shareholders every quarter. Shareholders on record will receive $0.47 per share quarterly dividends.

In a statement, Mike Duke, president and CEO of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) said, “We are pleased to increase Walmart’s dividend by $0.29 per share, one of the largest increases in our history. Our global businesses consistently generate strong free cash flow, providing ample opportunities to fund growth across all our markets and to deliver strong returns to shareholders. In fact, during fiscal year 2013, we returned $13 billion to shareholders in the form of dividends and share repurchases.”

Duke added, “Our new fiscal year is under way, and we’re excited about the strategies we have in place. With a strong asset base and strategic focus on greater capital discipline, we will continue to save our customers money, to grow our business and to provide solid returns to our shareholders

During the fourth quarter, the retail giant reported net income of $5.6 billion and $127.9 billion in revenues, an increase of 8.6 percent and 3.9 percent increase, respectively compared with its financial result during the same period a year earlier.

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) posted $1.67 earnings per share compared with the $1.57 per share consensus estimate of Wall Street analysts. The upside in the company’s EPS was driven by a favorable tax rate.

BAML analysts believe that later tax refunds in 2013 will likely shift the sales out of Wal-Mart in the first two weeks of February and would probably extend later in the month. The company also indicated the same opinion.

Meanwhile investors are happy with the increase in the dividend payment. The stock price of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) went up by 1.43 percent to more than $70 per share as of this writing.