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Wal-Mart Reports Promising Back-To-School Sales

BENTONVILLE, Ark. - Wal-Mart Stores Inc. on Monday said the back-to-school shopping season was off to a good start and it was on track to meet its August sales forecast. On a recorded update covering sales through Aug. 8, Wal-Mart said the best-selling categories included food, intimate apparel, swimwear, men's clothing, and electronics.

The retailer said last week's sales put it on track to meet its forecast for a 3 percent to 5 percent gain in August sales at stores open at least a year. Last year, Wal-Mart posted a 3.8 percent gain in August same-store sales.

Wal-Mart is counting on the $400 per child tax credits mailed out to more than 25 million families to help boost back-to-school spending, as are other retailers. Many chains are cashing rebate checks or letting customers use them for purchases.

But Wal-Mart said last week that customers who brought their checks in on average spent just 15 percent of the money in the store that day, down from 25 percent during the last round of tax rebates two years ago.

Wal-Mart, which is scheduled to release its fiscal second-quarter earnings on Wednesday, posted better-than-expected July same-store sales last week, breaking an eight-month stretch of monthly sales at the low end of or below its expectations.
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