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NEW YORK - Wal-Mart and other price-oriented retailers fared well in August, as back-to-school sales lifted their monthly sales figures.
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. reported its best same-store results since June 2002. Same-store sales were up 6.9 percent, far exceeding the 4.9 percent gain that analysts polled by Thomson First Call expected. In a pre-recorded call, the discounter said sales were boosted by back-to-school merchandise, and such items as men's apparel, electronics and hardware, but it did say that unit sales continue to outpace dollar sales.
Meanwhile, Sears, Roebuck and Co., powered by robust sales in home appliances, posted its first same-store sales increase in two years.
Target Corp. said that same-store sales were up 5.7 percent, well above analysts' forecast for a 3.8 percent gain.
BJ's Wholesale Club Inc. had a 10.9 percent increase in same-store sales, better than the 7 percent gain that Wall Street projected.
"The entire back-to-school sales season gravitated to discounters and other low-price stores," Kurt Barnard, president of Retail Forecasting LLC in Upper Montclair, N.J., told the Associated Press. "Consumers continue to be spooked by the deteriorating jobless picture."
By comparison, department and mall-based apparel stores showed mixed results and lagged behind their low-price counterparts, according to the AP.