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Wal-Mart March sales up 7.9%


BENTONVILLE, Ark. Wal-Mart Stores today reported total company sales for the five-week period ended April 4 of $37 billion, an increase of 7.9% over sales of $34 billion last year. Comparable-store sales for the March period increased 0.7%.

In the Wal-Mart Stores U.S. segment, the company reported that comps for March were driven by strength in grocery, health and entertainment, while softness continued in the home segment.

The company reported that at its Sam’s Club unit, sales were driven by fresh food, dry grocery and consumables.

Due to the shift of the Easter calendar change, Wal-Mart said it expects that comparable-store sales for the month of April (excluding fuel) will increase 1% to 3%.

For the first quarter of fiscal 2009, Wal-Mart said it is raising its earnings guidance to a range of 74 cents to 76 cents per share. Its previous guidance called for earnings to be between 70 cents to 74 cents per share.

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