UPDATE 2-Walmex fourth-quarter profit jumps 42 pct
(Adds analyst expectations, CEO comment, financial details)
MEXICO CITY Feb 17 (Reuters) - Wal-Mart de Mexico , the country's biggest retailer, said on Tuesday fourth-quarter profit rose more than 40 percent, helped by a pickup in revenue and asset sales.
The company reported a profit of 10.39 billion pesos ($704.5 million), compared with 7.3 billion pesos in the year-earlier period.
Revenue climbed 4.3 percent to 129.44 billion pesos, the company said.
Walmex has been selling non-core assets in Mexico as it seeks to focus on its supermarket business. The company, which is controlled by Wal-Mart Stores Inc, sold its restaurant division and bank unit last year.
The profit was significantly above an estimated profit of 7.49 billion pesos that analysts polled by Reuters had expected, although the increase in sales was in line with expectations.
Walmex struggled to increase its sales last year as Mexican consumers spent cautiously.
Same-store sales - sales at stores open more than a year - in Mexico increased just 0.4 percent from the year-earlier quarter, the company reported.
That was partially offset by better sales in Central America, which reported a same-store sales pickup of 4.1 percent on the year-earlier quarter.
"While there's room for improvement, particularly in sales, there are other things that made me feel encouraged," said Chief Executive Enrique Ostale on a prerecorded webcast that was not open to questions.
Walmex shares closed up 1.12 percent at 33.36 pesos before the company reported results. ($1 = 14.7475 pesos at end 2014) (Reporting by Elinor Comlay; editing by Matthew Lewis)
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