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Walton fortune continues to grow despite sales slowdown at Walmart

The Walton family is likely to have benefited from the boost in earnings in the second quarter 2010 at the family-controlled retailer, Walmart.

The world's biggest retailer reported a 3.6% year-on-year rise in earnings to $3.6bn, despite being hit by weaker sales. Like for like sales at its 3,500 supercentres had fallen 1.8% during the second quarter against a year ago.

Walmart's share price has risen, albeit erratically, since hitting a low of just under $43 in September 2007, and was trading at $51 on August 17th when the retailer announced its second quarter numbers.

The Walton family still control around 40% of the Bentonville, Arkansas-based retailer, which prides itself on its slogan: "saving people money to help them live better".

Christy Walton – the wife of the late John Walton, who was the son of the founder Sam Walton – is the wealthiest, according to Forbes. Her family's fortune was estimated at $22.5bn.

Jim Walton, the youngest son of Sam Walton, was the second family member on the Forbes billionaire list, with an estimated fortune of $20.7bn. 

His elder brother Rob Walton (pictured), with an estimated fortune of $19.8bn, is chairman of Walmart.

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