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    Wal-Mart Same-Store Sales Top Expectations for October

    BENTONVILLE, Ark.--Wal-Mart Stores here said Saturday that same-store stores in October are expected to have grown 4.3 percent, topping its earlier guidance of 2 to 4 percent, thanks to stronger general merchandise sales.

    BENTONVILLE, Ark.--Wal-Mart Stores here said Saturday that same-store stores in October are expected to have grown 4.3 percent, topping its earlier guidance of 2 to 4 percent, thanks to stronger general merchandise sales.

    In a weekly sales update, Wal-Mart added that food sales for the week ended last Friday were not as strong as GM volume. It said average basket rings drove same-store sales, and that the Southeast ranked highest in sales for the week, which did not include the high candy sales it expects for Halloween.

    Wal-Mart also reported on the status of stores closed due to recent. It said nine units remained closed as of Saturday due to the impacts of Katrina; five were still shuttered because of Wilma, and one in the wake of Rita.

    In August, Wal-Mart announced plans to stop reporting the weekly sales figures as of Feb. 1, the start of its next fiscal year. Wal-Mart executives reasoned that the weekly figures are too susceptible to anomalies such as weather and thus don't convey longer-term trends. The company will continue its monthly reports of sales totals, same-store sales results and same-store sales projections.

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