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Wal-Mart Sales Rise

Back-to-school season is solid.
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said August same-store sales rose 3.1% from a year ago, led by solid back-to-school gains.

The Bentonville, Ark., retailer said comparable sales at its Wal-Mart stores unit rose 2.8% from a year ago, while sales at its Sam's Club warehouse stores added 5.2%. The company cited strength in electronics, school supplies and children's apparel. Sales of laptops and calculators did well as families prepared for later school start dates in some states such as Florida and Texas. Back-to-college essentials and "rollback" features helped increase sales in domestics, including bedding, bath towels and plastic storage and organization items.

Food categories were strong throughout the month, and the back-to-school season helped drive convenience items for school lunchboxes and snacks.

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"We are pleased with our performance during August, because it reflects continuing momentum in grocery and electronics. Home and apparel are expected to continue improving into the fourth quarter," said Eduardo Castro-Wright, president and chief executive of Wal-Mart Stores U.S. "Overall, we are pleased with our inventory position at the end of August."

Wal-Mart said it expects to see September same-store sales rise 1%-3% from a year ago.

The report comes a day after soft numbers from warehouse retailer


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added to worries on Wall Street that consumer spending is weakening, increasing the risk of a recession.