Saturday, November 25, 2006

Wal-Mart sees weak sales

by Bill McBride on 11/25/2006 01:23:00 PM

From Reuters: Wal-Mart sees weak sales as holiday season starts

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. predicted a rare decline in monthly sales on Saturday, even as U.S. bargain-hunters jammed stores in search of gifts at the start of the crucial holiday shopping season.
Wal-Mart estimated that November sales fell 0.1 percent at its U.S. stores open at least a year -- a closely watched retail measure known as same-store sales.

The retailer will provide a final monthly sales report on Thursday, when most other major chain stores report their November figures. This would mark Wal-Mart's first monthly same-store sales decline since April 1996.

Wal-Mart had expected same-store sales to be flat compared with the same period last year, which many Wall Street analysts had viewed as disappointing. Wal-Mart's four-week November sales period ended on Friday.
Holiday retail sales are important every year, but as the article noted:
Investors are watching holiday sales particularly closely this year to gauge how consumers are coping with a slowdown in the housing market that has already hurt home improvement retailers and furniture stores.