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Wal-Mart U.S. misses comps mark


BENTONVILLE, Ark. Wal-Mart's U.S. January same-store sales rose by 0.5%, less than the 2% forecasted by the company and analysts.

The retailer said that sales of nonessential items like home goods, apparel and jewelry struggled, although groceries and health care items did well.  

Wal-Mart placed the blame for the disappointing numbers on unfavorable weather, particularly in the Midwest, and on gift card redemptions that fell below expectations. The company said that customers were holding on to the cards and often using them for food and consumable goods rather than splurging on nonessential items.

Same-store sales rose 0.2% at namesake stores and 2.1% at Sam's Club locations, which operate gas stations. Including gas prices, same-store sales rose 4.9%. Net sales for the month ended Feb. 1 rose almost 8% to $27.28 billion.

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