Wal-Mart Sales Won't Recover Until End of 2011, Poll Says

Wal-Mart investors don't expect U.S. sales to turn positive until the end of next year, according to a recent poll by TheStreet.
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sales aren't expected to recover until the second-half of 2011, according to



Earlier in the week, the discount behemoth reported yet another decline in U.S. same-store sales, War-Mart's fifth consecutive quarterly decrease. According to the poll, 49.6% don't foresee Wal-Mart's sales turning positive until late next year, while 29.5% expect a jump by the first half of 2011.

While the No. 1 retailer forecasts the change in third-quarter same-store sales to fall anywhere between a decline of 2% to an increase of 1%, exactly how it plans on returning to positive sales territory remains unclear.

There's no denying that the aggressive rollbacks put in place during the quarter didn't generate the traffic Wal-Mart expected. Thus, the company will return to its strategy of "everyday low prices."

During the second quarter, Wal-Mart's total revenue rose 2.8% to $103.73 billion, but this fell below analysts' expectations of $105.33 billion. Wal-Mart's U.S. same-store sales dropped 1.8%, at the low range of forecasts.

As a result, only a measly 10.8% of voters believe Wal-Mart's sales will turn positive in the third quarter, while just 7.2% predict an increase in the fourth quarter.

Chief Financial Officer Tom Schoewe said on a call with reporters that the Wal-Mart customer is under such severe pressure that even dramatic discounts are not enough to entice spending.

This does not bode well for the back-to-school and holiday seasons, a time where shoppers are looking to purchase more discretionary items. Wal-Mart has notoriously been struggling with its non-essential merchandise, especially apparel.

-- Reported by Jeanine Poggi in New York.

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