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Wal-Mart, Target April Sales Up

7 May, 2009 By: Erik Gruenwedel

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U.S. retailers Wal-Mart Stores and Target Corp. May 7 each reported increased sales in April — the first increase in two months for Target.

Target said net retail sales for the four weeks ended May 2 were $4.4 billion, an increase of 4.5% from $4.2 billion for the four weeks ended May 3, 2008.

Wal-Mart said retail sales (excluding Sam’s Club and foreign) ended May 1 topped $19.3 billion, up 7.7% from $17.9 billion during the same period last year ended May 2, 2008.

The Minneapolis-based Target, which operates 1,698 stores in 49 states, and Bentonville, Ark.-based Wal-Mart — the largest retailer in the world — are considered, along with Best Buy, among the top national sellers of DVD and Blu-ray movies and television fare.

Wal-Mart same-store sales (open at least 12 months) increased 5.9%, and 0.3% for Target.

Eduardo Castro-Wright, vice chairman of Wal-Mart Stores, said sales improved across all segments, including entertainment and consumer electronics. The retail behemoth does not report separate segment revenues.

Wal-Mart also announced it would no longer report monthly sales, opting instead to report them on a quarterly basis. The decision is considered a blow to analysts who often use Wal-Mart monthly sales as an industry barometer.

For Target, which realized successive monthly same-store sales declines in February and March, the results signify a positive turnaround.

The chain now expects to beat previous first quarter earnings projections.

“April sales results were in line with our guidance for the month,” said Gregg Steinhafel, chairman, president and CEO of Target. “For the first quarter overall, retail segment financial performance was significantly better than expected.”

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