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Wal-Mart says Feb. sales up 3.2 percent
Analysts had feared that sales for the world's largest retailer would disappoint due to cold weather.
February 25, 2006: 12:21 PM EST

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Wal-Mart Stores Inc. estimated on Saturday that February sales rose 3.2 percent at its U.S. stores open at least a year, near the middle of its forecast.

The world's biggest retailer had expected sales growth in the range of 2 percent to 4 percent. On a recorded message, Wal-Mart (Research) gave no details about its sales performance. The retailer discontinued its weekly sales updates as of this month.

Wal-Mart and most other major retailers will release final February sales results on Thursday.

Analysts have been concerned that retailers would post disappointing demand because of bitterly cold weather and heavy snow in parts of the country. Many stores had stocked spring merchandise and had little to offer customers looking for winter coats.

Earlier this month, Target (Research) lowered the high end of its February forecast, blaming a massive winter snowstorm that covered much of the U.S. Northeast the weekend before Valentine's Day.

Target now expects an increase of 2.5 percent to 3.5 percent at its stores open at least a year, down from its original forecast for as much as 4.5 percent growth.

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