US: Slight July upturn for Wal-Mart

Sales up three per cent for the month, but growth will slow in August.
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Wal-Mart Stores has reported its sales for July, recording a slight increase of three per cent for the four weeks ending August 1st 2008.

During the four-week period, comparable store sales increased in grocery, entertainment and health and wellness. Store sales in home and apparel were slightly negative during the period, although Wal-Mart pointed out that stores had much cleaner inventory in these areas, meaning there was less clearance than in the same period last year.

Grocery was driven by strong sales in both food and consumables. Flat-panel televisions, video games, game accessories and digital media led the entertainment area.

However, while Wal-Mart believes its business is well-positioned for the current economy, it is estimating that US comparable store sales (excluding fuel) for the August four-week period will ebe between one and two per cent because it still sees 'sales volatility' from week to week.

Meanwhile, in the UK Asda delivered another strong sales performance, with sales growing in the high single digits. Core food categories continued to sell well because of strong consumer traffic, while clothing sales strengthened in the month and outperformed a difficult market.

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