The Bentonville, Ark.-based retail behemoth reduced its expected sales increase to 0.7% from the previous range of 2% to 4% at its stores open at least one year. Customer traffic declined toward the end of the past week, and reports said the company anticipated that it would impact sales for the period, which covers Oct. 30 to Nov. 26.
Sales activity on Black Friday was expected to be harder to gauge this year, as Wal-Mart would not be releasing results. On Black Friday last year, the retail giant rang up its best sales day ever, with sales of $1.52 billion. The company said it had taken a more balanced approach for sales on the day after Thanksgiving.
Two reports out on Saturday indicated that spending was strong on Friday, with one suggesting sales reached $8 billion. Visa said sales on its cards rose 15.5% vs. 2003, notching a record $4.1 billion. ShopperTrak, a retail industry research firm, said it found sales had climbed 10.8% and estimated sales for the day reached $8 billion.