Wal-Mart says it expects to post 0.1 decline in same-store sales in November

Saturday, November 25th 2006, 3:54 pm
By: News On 6

NEW YORK (AP) Wal-Mart Stores Inc. had a disappointing start to the holiday shopping season, despite an aggressive discount campaign. It now expects to report November same-store sales were below its already lackluster forecast.

The world's largest retailer said Saturday that it expects to report a 0.1 percent decline in November sales in stores opened at least a year, slightly below its projections for flat sales for the month, compared to the year-ago period. The results cover the four-week period that ended Friday, including the first day of the holiday shopping season.

Wal-Mart and other major retailers are expected to report final same-store results on Thursday.

Wal-Mart's disappointing performance in November is the latest in a string of anemic sales gains for the discount store, which is struggling to expand its appeal to higher-income shoppers. According to the International Council of Shopping Centers, Wal-Mart has averaged a meager 2.4 percent gain in same-store sales for the February-October period. That compares with a same-store sales 4.8 percent gain for discount rival Target Corp.

Wal-Mart, which had downplayed its emphasis on discounting, or what it calls rollbacks, stepped up its campaign in mid-October, with price reductions on over 100 toys. The move was followed by price cuts on consumer electronics and small appliances earlier this month, and bargains reserved for the day after Thanksgiving.