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    Wal-Mart Experiences Smallest Sales Gain in a Year

    BENTONVILLE, Ark. - Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. has reported the smallest sales gain in a year -- 2.2 percent -- for the month of June. The gain was at the low end of the company's forecast of an increase of 2 percent to 4 percent at U.S. stores open for at least a year.

    BENTONVILLE, Ark. - Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. has reported the smallest sales gain in a year -- 2.2 percent -- for the month of June. The gain was at the low end of the company's forecast of an increase of 2 percent to 4 percent at U.S. stores open for at least a year. In the same five-week period last year, sales rose 2.7 percent. For the 22-week period, sales went up 4.9 percent, as compared with 2.5 percent for the similar prior-year period.

    Net sales for the five-week period ending July 2 were $26.972 billion, an increase of 9.3 percent over the $24.669 billion in the same five-week period last year. Sales for the 22-week period were $114.455 billion, an increase of 12.3 percent over $101.928 billion in the similar period last year.

    The Wal-Mart Division's sales for the five-week period were $18.111 billion, up 8.3 percent over sales of $16.730 billion in the same five-week period last year. The division's sales for the 22 weeks of $76.829 billion were up 11.0 percent over $69.209 billion in the similar prior-year period.

    Sam's Club sales for the five-week period were $3.645 billion, an increase of 7.8 percent over sales of $3.380 billion in the same five-week period last year. Club sales for the 22 weeks of $15.379 billion were up 9.9 percent over the $13.995 billion in the similar prior-year period.

    The International Division's sales for the five-week period were $5.216 billion, up 14.4 percent over sales of $4.559 billion in the same five-week period last year. The division's sales for the 22 weeks of $22.247 billion were up 18.8 percent over the $18.724 billion in the similar prior-year period.

    According to credit analyst and economist Richard D. Hastings, v.p. - retail economist at New York-based credit ratings and service company Bernard Sands, "I have for some time expected to see a weaker sales trend at Wal-Mart's supercenters, something that could now be materializing. The drop in same-store sales to 1.3 percent is very sharp, although [unseasonable] weather did play a role here. I don't expect any sustained slowdown in performance at Sam's Club. But the biggest contribution to consolidated operating income comes from the supercenters, and any sustained slowdown in sales momentum in that division could put some pressure on Wal-Mart's consolidated earnings in the third quarter and beyond."

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