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“While economic challenges forced others to step back, we moved forward.”

– Wal-Mart CEO Mike Duke, in a memo to employees announcing that the company is awarding some $2 billion in incentives–bonuses, profit sharing, merchandise discounts, and contributions to 401(k) and stock-purchase plans–to hourly employees in the U.S. That’s up from $1.2 billion in incentives a year ago. Good for the folks in Bentonville, doing their part to pump up the U.S. economy and satisfying shareholders too. Wal-Mart stock is flat vs. a year ago–standout performance amidst the market meltdown.

For the smartest take on how Duke won the succession contest to replace Lee Scott as CEO of the world’s largest retailer, read my colleague Suzanne Kapner’s story in the February 18 issue of Fortune. – Pattie Sellers