Wal-Mart Sales Slip in November

The giant retailer says U.S. same-store sales fell 0.1% from a year before.
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Wal-Mart (WMT) - Get Report said Saturday that U.S. same-store sales fell 0.1% in November from a year ago.

The Bentonville, Ark. retail giant had forecast "flat" sales for November. A key industry metric, the same-store figure measure the change in sales at stores that have been open for at least one year.

November's decline follows a paltry 0.5% same-store sales increase in October, which Wal-Mart had blamed on unusually strong sales in October 2005, when consumers in some regions scrambled to purchase items in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

Wal-Mart didn't offer any explanation for November's results in Saturday's announcement. The company plans to issue a complete November sales report Thursday, when most other large retailers also plan to disclose monthly sales.

At the beginning of the month, Wal-Mart slashed prices on a slew of popular electronics products. Such strategies can be risky, however, because they pressure revenue and margins even as they generate headlines and lure more shoppers.

Retailers including Wal-Mart were aggressive in offering holiday promotions this week, and

shoppers flooded stores on Friday hoping to get bargains at the start of the traditional holiday shopping season.

Wal-Mart shares lost 13 cents Friday to close at $47.90.