The slowing in sales in January wasn’t “disastrous,” Holley said today at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch 2013 Consumer & Retail Conference in New York.
Wal-Mart, the world’s largest retailer, had struggled early this year as the late release of tax forms and additional, federally mandated fraud scrutiny delayed some returns while a rise in the payroll tax took a bigger bite from shoppers’ paychecks. Jerry Murray, Wal-Mart’s vice president of finance and logistics, said in a Feb. 12 e-mail obtained by Bloomberg News that month-to-date sales had been a “total disaster.”
Wal-Mart, based in Bentonville, Arkansas, rose 0.9 percent to $73.60 at the close in New York. The shares have gained 7.9 percent this year, compared with a 10 percent gain for the Dow Jones Industrial Average.
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