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Wal-Mart October Sales Rise 0.5%

Wal-Mart (WMT - Get Report) Saturday issued an October sales estimate that could give its fans a fright.

The Bentonville, Ark.-based company said U.S. same-store sales for the four-week period ending Friday rose just 0.5%. A closely watched industry metric, same-store sales measure the year-over-year change at stores that have been open for more than one year.

The October gain falls significantly short of the company's recently lowered forecast. On Monday, Wal-Mart executives said in a conference call that October sales were tracking closer to September's 1.3% rise, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Previously, Wal-Mart had predicted a 2% to 4% gain in October.

October's rise is also Wal-Mart's weakest monthly gain since December 2000, the Journal noted.

In a brief statement Saturday, Wal-Mart offered no explanation for the lower-than-expected sales. The company plans to issue a full October sales report Thursday, when most major U.S. retailers are expected to announce monthly results.

Wal-Mart shares lost $1.02 Friday to close at $50.73.

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