Updated from 11:29 a.m. EDT

Grocery chain stocks struggled for much of Wednesday after Wal-Mart's ( WMT) CEO told NBC's "Today Show" that people expected a near-term recovery will be sorely disappointed.

"It's not a 'V' recession, where we're just going to bounce out and come back," Mike Duke said on the show Wednesday morning, adding that customers tend to be scrimping toward the end of the month and are using cash more for the their purchases. Wal-Mart shares spent much of the day in the red, trading as low as $50.62, but ultimately rallied to close up 0.3% at $51.29.

Other widely held retail stocks followed Wal-Mart's lead:

Whole Foods ( WFMI) closed down 1.6% to $17.66. The company announced Wednesday that it would report second-quarter earnings May 14.

Kroger ( KR) fell 0.5% to $20.62.

Safeway ( SWY) rose 1.2% to $19.96.

SuperValu ( SVU)fell 3.1% to $13.67.

Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea ( GAP) rose 5% to $6.52.

Costco ( COST) rose 0.7% to $45.66.

Winn Dixie ( WINN) rose 0.8% to $9.73.

BJ's Wholesale Club ( BJ) rose 1.3% to $30.69.

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