BENTONVILLE, Ark. ( TheStreet) -- Wal-Mart ( WMT) announced that it upped its annual dividend by 11% on Thursday.

The retail behemoth will now pay out $1.21 a share over the course of the current fiscal year, compared with $1.09 a share in fiscal 2010.

The first quarterly payment of 30.25 cents will be made on April 5 to shareholders of record on March 12.

Wal-Mart has increased its dividend every year since 1974. In 2009, the company raised its dividend 15% to $1.09 from 95 cents the year prior.

-- Reported by Jeanine Poggi in New York.

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