Wal-Mart Sees March Same-Store Sales at High End of Range

Wal-Mart ( WMT) said Monday that March same-store sales are coming in at the high end of its previous guidance, helped by strong sales of food and Easter holiday merchandise.

Total U.S. same-store sales are currently tracking near the high end of the 4% to 6% range forecast in the period Feb. 28 through March 26, the company said.

The strongest categories for the U.S. during the week were food, Easter seasonal items, sleepwear, men's apparel and electronics. Easter apparel sales and decorations were above plan, while Easter candy sales were slightly below last year's levels.

Both traffic and average ticket were positive for the week, with traffic making up two-thirds of the comp increase, the company said. Wal-Mart noted that comparisons were difficult due to tougher weather comparisons from last year in the Northeast and mid-Atlantic regions.

The company also reiterated that Easter is one week earlier this year. The holiday, however, still occurs in the April period, but the company expects that some sales will be moved from April into March.

On April 8 the Bentonville, Ark.-based company will release sales for the five weeks ending April 2.

Wal-Mart shares closed at $59.41 Friday on the New York Stock Exchange.

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