Updated from 8:49 a.m.Retailers reported mixed sales results for May, with Wal-Mart ( WMT) posting gains. Wal-Mart ( WMT), the world's biggest retailer and an economic indicator in its own right, said Thursday that sales at stores open more than a year rose 2.1% on the year in May, in line with estimates. However, in the year-earlier period, sales had risen 6.2%. Net sales for May rose 10% to $18.95 billion. The company said consumers were buying at an uneven pace, spending more after receiving their bimonthly paychecks and less as the weeks wore on. Wal-Mart forecast 2% to 4% growth for same-store sales in June. Its shares were up 1%, or 56 cents, at $54.42 in afternoon trading. As for the coming months, analysts expressed mixed views for the sector. "In sum, markdowns are accelerating and will keep a lid on second-quarter margins and earnings. We continue to be neutral weight the group, due to rising inventory levels," said Todd Slater, retail analyst at Lazard. Mark Miller, a retail analyst at William Blair, disagreed, saying the inventory problem has diminished and that retail results could improve in June, given that bellwether Wal-Mart won't be heavily pressured to cut prices. Regarding Wal-Mart, Slater said, "Overall results were mixed, with underperformance in the warehouse clubs and outperformance in specialty stores." But, he said, even the "better-than-expected sales were driven by markdowns, which we see continuing at a torrid pace, putting pressure on industry earnings." Lazard offers investment-banking advice to Wal-Mart. Miller noted, "There were some positives, such as inventories growing faster than sales. That will reduce the risk of Wal-Mart being forced to mark down its prices at a fast pace." William Blair maintains an investment-banking relationship with Wal-Mart.