Wal-Mart poised for big holiday season

Nov. 6, 2008 at 8:29 AM
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BENTONVILLE, Ark., Nov. 6 (UPI) -- Retail giant Wal-Mart is poised to accomplish something rare for U.S. retailers this holiday season: It is poised to have a Merry Christmas, analysts said.

While many large store chains recorded double-digit sales declines in October, Wal-Mart is expected to post gains, The New York Times reported Thursday.

During the recession of the 1980s, there were about 300 Wal-Mart stores. But, the discount chain now has 4,000 stores in place and is ready to have a big year as shoppers feel the pinch of the current economic slowdown, the Times said.

This shopping season might amount to "a Wal-Mart Christmas," market analyst Bill Dreher of Deutsche Bank told the Times.

"It's going to be a primary destination for a lot of people who may not have gone there in recent years," said Ken Perkins, president of Retail Metrics told the Times.

"In my mind, there is no doubt that this is Wal-Mart time," H. Lee Scott Jr., the company's president and chief executive, said recently.

"This is the kind of environment that Sam Walton built this company for," Scott said.

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