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    Grocery Helps Jan. Comps Rise at Wal-Mart

    BENTONVILLE, Ark. -- Same-store sales at Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. were up 2.2 percent for the five-week period ended Feb. 2, the retailer said yesterday. Sales were strong in grocery, pharmacy, and entertainment, while cold-weather items and home electronics helped the company exceed Wall Street's expectations, said the chain's U.S. president and c.e.o. Eduardo Castro-Wright.

    BENTONVILLE, Ark. -- Same-store sales at Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. were up 2.2 percent for the five-week period ended Feb. 2, the retailer said yesterday. Sales were strong in grocery, pharmacy, and entertainment, while cold-weather items and home electronics helped the company exceed Wall Street's expectations, said the chain's U.S. president and c.e.o. Eduardo Castro-Wright.

    Average ticket sizes drove the January comparable sales figure, the retailer said. In addition, it said traffic declines are slowing as compared to the last several months.

    By comparison, however, last January Wal-Mart's same-store sales had climbed 4 percent over the comparable five-week period.

    At Wal-Mart stores, which include conventional Wal-Marts, Supercenters, and Neighborhood Markets, comparable stores increased 1.9 percent over the latest five-week period. Sam's Club saw its same-store sales rise 3.4 percent.

    For the year, Wal-Mart's total same-store sales at the Wal-Mart and Sam's Club stores edged up 2 percent, with a 1.9 percent increase at the stores and a 2.9 percent gain at Sam's.

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