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Updated from 7:54 a.m. EDT



said same-store sales rose 4.6% last month, and the world's largest retailer raised its guidance for the fiscal second quarter.

The company reported net sales for the four-week period ended Aug. 1 of $18.63 billion, an increase of 11.9% from $16.65 billion in the same period a year ago.

Sales for the first half of the year totaled $120.59 billion, up 10.5% from the year-ago period.

Wal-Mart said it now expects to report earnings from continuing operations of around 52 cents a share for the second quarter ended July 31. Analysts polled by Thomson First Call are looking for a profit of 50 cents. The company is scheduled to report its results for the quarter on Aug. 13.

The Wal-Mart division's sales for July were $12.63 billion, up 11.5% from last year. Sam's Club had sales of $2.49 billion, an increase of 8.7%. For August, Wal-Mart projected that same-store sales will rise in the 3% to 5% range.

Elsewhere, other retail chains were reporting generally strong July results Thursday, with many posting double-digit same-store sales gains and raising their quarterly earnings guidance.

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said July same-store sales rose 11%, while total sales for the month increased 20% to $37.6 million. Second-quarter comps rose 15%, the company said, while total sales were $124.7 million, up 25%.

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The company also affirmed that it expects to earn 2 cents to 3 cents a share in the quarter, reversing last year's loss of 5 cents a share. Analysts expect 3 cents a share.

Urban Outfitters


reported that second-quarter same-store sales rose 11% and said quarterly total sales jumped 22% to $122.9 million.




, July sales increased 6% to $100.5 million from last year's $94.5 million, and comparable-store sales rose 0.7%, ahead of expectations.

The company said total second-quarter sales were $389.6 million, up 5%, but quarterly same-store sales fell 1.7%. Talbots now expects second-quarter earnings at the high end of its range of 29 cents to 31 cents per share. Analysts expect 30 cents a share.

Pier One


reported July sales of $129.6 million, an increase of about 5% from last year's $123.6 million, but same-store sales fell 4.1%, from an increase of 2.3% in the prior year. The company also said it expects August comps to be down about 3% to 6%.

Second-quarter earnings are seen at 20 cents to 23 cents a share, bracketing analysts' consensus estimate of 21 cents a share.