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Weekly Sales at Big Retailers Add to Slowdown Worries

Wal-Mart, J.C. Penney and Kmart see sales growth slow.


(WMT) - Get Walmart Inc. Report

said same-store sales growth was below the company's planned 3% to 5% range last week. Other retailers also said same-store sales, which track sales at stores open at least a year, were less than stellar.

The Bentonville, Ark.-based behemoth said it saw fewer customers at its Wal-Mart and

Sam's Club

units, but that the average sales ticket remained strong. It reiterated its expectations that sales for the quarter, which ends in January, will be at the lower end of its expectations. In the month of November, Wal-Mart's same-store sales rose 4.4%. The company's shares rose $2.06, or 4%, to $53.25 in late morning trading.

Meantime, the other half of the Mart Brothers,

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, said same-store sales last week were tracking below the company's plan of 2% to 4% growth. Its shares rose 13 cents, or 2.2%, to $5.75.


J.C. Penney

(JCP) - Get J. C. Penney Company, Inc. Report

said weekly department store sales were in line with the company's expectations of a low to mid-single digit decline. Catalog sales were also on plan, with a decrease in the mid single digits, while sales growth at drugstores rose. Penney shares rose 19 cents, or 1.9%, to $10.

Retailers are bracing themselves for a tough holiday sales season -- consumers are spending less money and when they do buy, they're putting off their purchases to the last minute. That has analysts predicting a rash of markdowns, which will likely hit margins.