Wal-Mart’s Holley Says February Sales Returned to Normal

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT) Chief Financial Officer Charles Holley said sales returned to normal by the end of February after being hurt by delayed tax returns the previous month.

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.

To contact the reporter on this story: Renee Dudley in New York at rdudley6@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Robin Ajello at rajello@bloomberg.net

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