Wal-Mart Inc., the world's top retail chain, said on Thursday its fourth-quarter profit will miss earlier forecasts due to slower sales, the impact of a strong dollar on its international business and litigation costs.

Wal-Mart said its same-store sales stores rose 1.7 percent in December, below analysts expectations of about 2.8 percent according to Forbes. Sales at Wal-Mart U.S. rose 1.9 percent and 0.1 percent in its Sam's Club unit.

Total sales for the period ended Jan. 1 edged down 0.1 percent to $46.51 billion compared with $46.57 billion in the same period of 2007.

The company lowered its forecasts for the fourth quarter earnings to a range of 91 cents to 94 cents per share, below the $1.03 to $1.07 per share expected. Wal-Mart foresees a growth between 0 and 2 percent on U.S. same store sales in January.

Macy's Inc. and Gap Inc. also lowered their sales projections. Sales at Gap, the largest clothing retailer in the U.S. slipped 14 percent while Macy's sales dropped 4 percent in December.