The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Wal-Mart sales trail forecasts

Chicago, Nov. 19 (Reuters): Wal-Mart Stores Inc, the world's largest retailer, said on Monday that November sales at stores open for at least a year were tracking at the low end of its guidance, adding to concerns about the strength of consumer spending in a sluggish economy.

In addition, department store chain Federated Department Stores Inc — which owns the Macy’s and Bloomingdale's chains — called sales “disappointing”. Bankrupt retailer Kmart Corp also said sales in the latest week softened.

A weak economy, erosion in consumer confidence, job losses and a possible war with Iraq are casting a shadow over the key holiday shopping season in which many retailers traditionally book about a quarter of their annual sales and the bulk of their profits. Most analysts and retailers look at November-December sales together to even out changes in the calendar.

Target Corp, the No. 3 US discounter, said same-store sales last week and for the month-to-date were above its plan, which calls for a decline of between 8 per cent and 10 per cent.

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