Wal-Mart's Oct. Same-store Sales Up 0.4 Percent

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Wal-Mart's Oct. Same-store Sales Up 0.4 Percent

BENTONVILLE, Ark. -- Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. yesterday reported a 0.4 percent increase in same-store sales at its U.S. units for the month of October -- a performance that missed Wall Street's expectations.

The retailer also forecast sluggish sales gains for November, figuring that its same-store sales will be between flat and up 2 percent. Last year, November U.S. same-store sales fell 0.5 percent.

Net sales in the four weeks ended Nov. 2 rose 8.4 percent to $27.92 billion.

Strong pricing initiatives helped drive strong comparable store sales in grocery and pharmacy during the October four-week period, the retailer said. Halloween sales were also solid across all departments.

Seasonal categories related to cold weather, including those in apparel, home, and hardlines, were soft.

Sam's Club sales for the October period included strengths in fresh food, grocery, video games, and office supplies. Halloween seasonal performance was an additional positive for the period. Increases in average ticket and small business traffic drove comparable club sales performance. In addition to fuel, price inflation in dairy products continues to be a factor, the retailer said.

Wal-Mart affirmed that its U.S. stores have "a healthy inventory position going into the holiday season."

Getting a jumpstart on holiday promotions, Wal-Mart began cutting prices on select popular toys on Sept. 30 and offered Thanksgiving-weekend type discounts on Nov. 2.