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Wal-Mart Stores Inc. reported a 2.4 percent increase in October sales at its U.S. stores open at least a year, beating analysts' targets and its own estimates, as more shoppers were attracted to its discount stores in tough economic times. Most analysts expected only a 1.6 percent rise in same-store sales, according to Reuters estimates. Wal-Mart had forecast a gain of 1 percent to 2 percent.
"Customer comparable traffic is higher, and our seasonal merchandising events are delivering improved sales," Eduardo Castro-Wright, Wal-Mart U.S. president and c.e.o., said in a statement. "Highly competitive pricing, especially on basics throughout the store, is driving these results."
Wal-Mart expects U.S. same store sales to rise 1 percent to 3 percent in November.
The retail giant's latest series of television commercials is resonating with customers trying to stretch their budgets. One spot, for example, shows that a family of four can save $700 a year by shopping for groceries at Walmart.
Sam's Club sales during the October period were driven by strengths in fresh food, dry grocery and consumables. Produce, meat, baby care and pets were stand out categories. Traffic and tickets were up for both Business and Advantage members.
In other news, Walmart U.S. announced price rollbacks across all categories in the store that could save customers an additional $200 million during the next seven weeks, the company said. Examples of grocery rollbacks include Betty Crocker potatoes (was $1.48-$1.58, now 98 cents); 48- oz. Crisco vegetable oil (was $3.88, now $2.98).