Retail giant Wal-Mart announced on Thursday that it is lowering its December sales forecast due to disappointing performance in certain product categories, including small appliances.
The retailer said it now expected comparable sales in U.S. stores to be up 2-3 percent on the year in the 5-week period ending Jan. 3, 2003, against previous forecasts of 3-5 percent.
Although the holiday season started robustly over the Thanksgiving weekend, sales have shown lower growth since.
Demand accelerated over the past weekend and into Christmas Eve, with 2 of those days topping U.S.$1 billion in sales, but Wal-Mart said "the increase was too late and too little for us to reach our sales plan."
The company said strongest domestic demand was for electronics, jewelry, cosmetics, and toys while sales of men's and boys' clothing and small appliances were disappointing.
Argentina and the UK continued to be Wal-Mart's strongest international markets. Last month, a strong performance from the UK's Asda supermarket chain, which it acquired in 1999, helped to fuel a 23-percent jump in quarterly profits. (FT.com)
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