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VOL. 123 | NO. 219 | Friday, November 7, 2008

Wal-Mart October Same-Store Sales Rise

AP

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BENTONVILLE, Ark. (AP) - Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the world's largest retailer, said Thursday its low-price focus and sales of Halloween merchandise boosted October same-store sales by 2.4 percent, ahead of expectations.

The company also said Thursday that it will cut prices on thousands of items during the upcoming holiday season in an effort to save consumers a total of $200 million.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters, on average, had expected same-store sales – or sales in stores open at least one year – to rise 1.6 percent.

"Customer comparable traffic is higher and our seasonal merchandising events are delivering improved sales," said Eduardo Castro-Wright, president and chief executive of Wal-Mart's U.S. division, in a statement. "Highly competitive pricing, especially on basics throughout the store, is driving these results."

Same-store sales rose 2.5 percent including fuel. In the U.S., they rose 2.2 percent at Wal-Mart namesake stores and 3.6 percent at the Sam's Club warehouse stores.

Total October sales rose 2.3 percent to $28.57 billion, including a 6 percent decline in international sales. The strengthening U.S. dollar hurt international sales by 14.8 percentage points.

At Sam's Club, sales were driven by sales of groceries, baby and pet products.

Weaker categories were electronics, jewelry and home-related products.

The company expects same-store sales to rise 1 percent to 3 percent in November.

Meanwhile, Wal-Mart said it will cut prices on thousands of items over the next seven weeks, adding new items each week.

Toys such as the Battleship board game, which was $14.38, will now cost $10, and in electronics, the Magnavox Blu-Ray player will cost $198, down from $229. Wal-Mart will also have a one-day sale on Saturday, and cut the price of a Compaq laptop to $298 and a Sony Walkman to $49.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 88 278 924
MORTGAGES 80 320 1,066
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 0 67 202
BUILDING PERMITS 120 590 2,248
BANKRUPTCIES 55 222 624
BUSINESS LICENSES 31 162 462
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 15 94 274
MARRIAGE LICENSES 12 49 130