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Discounters Boost January U.S. Retail Sales

NEW YORK - U.S. discount chains, led by Wal-Mart Stores Inc., boosted January retail sales above year-earlier levels, Reuters reports.

Same-store sales rose 5.5 percent, according to data from 47 retailers compiled by Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi. The last time January sales grew at that rate was in 2000, when the index rose 5.7 percent.

Wal-Mart reported same-store sales increased 8.3 percent in January. Net sales shot up to $15.4 billion, from $13.53 billion a year ago in the four-week period ended last Friday.

Target posted a 5.8 percent rise in same-store sales, slightly above its forecast, which called for a gain in the low-single digits on a percentage basis.

Warehouse chains also fared well in January. Costco Wholesale Corp., the largest U.S. warehouse chain, recorded a 7 percent jump in same-store sales for the month.
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