December was less cheery for
than the company had predicted.
The world's largest retailer estimates that same-store U.S. sales for the five weeks ended Friday were up only 2.2%. That's at the low end of the 2% to 4% range the company had forecast. The same-store figure measures sales at stores open at least a year and is a closely watched barometer of retailers' health.
In the latest week, Wal-Mart estimates that same-store sales of general merchandise were stronger than those of food. The strongest region was the Southeast.
Wal-Mart will release final sales results for December on Thursday.
The company's shares ended the week at $46.80.