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, the world's biggest company, said sales at stores open at least a year came in below expectations as a result of unusually warm weather. The company posted a 3.8% gain in August same-store sales, below its forecast for 4% to 6% growth. Same-store sales at its Wal-Mart division climbed 4.3%, while Sam's Club posted a modest 1.1% gain.

Federated Department Stores


, which operates Macy's and Bloomingdale's, said same-store sales fell 5.8% in the four weeks ended Aug. 31. Total sales for the month dropped 3.8% to $1.1 billion from $1.3 billion last year.

Consumer electronics chain

Best Buy

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said its second-quarter comparable-store sales rose 2% as overall weakness in the economy contributed to sluggish demand for its home entertainment products. In August the company lowered its outlook for the second time in two months, saying it wouldn't meet its target of 4% to 5% sales growth.


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reported a 2% decline in August same-store sales, its 29th straight month of lower comparable sales. The company, which operates Gap, Old Navy and Banana Republic, said total sales for the week ended Aug. 31 rose 6% to $1.2 billion from the same period a year ago.

Home furnishings retailer

Pier 1 Imports

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said sales at stores open at least a year rose 8.6% as a result of strong sales of regular-priced and promotional items. The strong results prompted the company to raise its second-quarter earnings forecast to 23 cents a share from a previous estimate of 20 cents to 21 cents. The company will report earnings on Sept. 17.

Children's apparel chain



said its same-store sales increased 3%, and the company expects third-quarter sales to rise in the low single digits. The company remains comfortable with its outlook for the next two quarters, projecting a profit of 13 cents to 15 cents a share, and 38 cents to 40 cents, respectively.

Teen apparel and music merchant

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posted a 5.3% gain in August same-store sales. Net sales increased 32% to $46.8 million from $35.4 million for August 2001.

Video game publisher

Take-Two Interactive

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beat its previous earnings forecasts and raised its guidance for the fiscal third quarter. Net income rose to $4.8 million, or 12 cents a diluted share, from a loss of $665,000, or 2 cents a share, in the same period last year. Net sales climbed 51% to $122.5 million from $81.3 million. Analysts expected the company to earn 7 cents a share on revenue of $101.3 million.

Biotech firm



said its experimental antibiotic Dalbavancin proved effective in treating patients suffering from skin and soft tissue infections. In the phase II clinical trial, Dalbavancin, given by injection once a week for two weeks, showed higher response rates compared with a variety of current treatments, including the

Eli Lilly

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antiobiotic Vancomycin.

Railroad operator


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said third-quarter earnings will be hurt by weak demand from utilities who transport coal over its network. The company expects to make up the shortfall in other areas, but the shares were getting hammered nonetheless. Shares were down $6.45 at $28.18. Coal-transport revenue is projected to be down $35 million from a year ago, but the company expects to even it out with higher revenue than last year from the combined automotive and merchandise sectors. CSX expects total rail and intermodal operating income to be down "slightly" from last year's $237 million. Earnings should be "well above" last year's 47 cents a share, but the company didn't give specific guidance. Analysts expect the company to earn 66 cents a share. CSX will announce its results on Oct. 24.

A California investment group offered to buy small stakes in energy traders






at big premiums to their market price. Mirant urged shareholders to reject the offer on grounds the acquirer could tie up their shares indefinitely without actually buying them. Dynegy took no position but urged investors to proceed with extreme caution.Main Street Acquisition Corp. offered to pay $4.97 a share for up to 4.9% of Mirant's outstanding shares. The stock closed at $3.38 Wednesday. The group also said it would pay $2.88 a share for a similar block of Dynegy, which ended Wednesday at $2.17.