Wal-Mart Stores Inc posted a higher quarterly profit and raised its dividend payout on Thursday, as efforts such as extending its layaway program and matching competitors' prices attracted shoppers during the competitive holiday season.

The world's largest retailer earned $1.67 per share from continuing operations in the fiscal fourth quarter, up from $1.51 per share a year earlier. Wal-Mart had forecast a profit of $1.53 to $1.58 per share from continuing operations.

(Reporting by Jessica Wohl in Boca Raton, Florida; Editing by Maureen Bavdek)