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Wal-Mart’s New U.S. Chief Faces Bare Shelves, Surly Shoppers

Empty shelves, grumpy customers, long lines at the register: These are just some of the challenges facing Wal-Mart Stores Inc.’s new U.S. chief.

Greg Foran, who takes charge Aug. 9, inherits a chain wedded to an outdated big-box model, struggling to boost sales in its stores and online, and losing customers because it can’t keep shelves adequately stocked. The sluggish U.S. performance contributed to lower-than-projected sales and profit in the quarter that ended April 30. Wal-Mart’s profit forecast for the current quarter also came in lower than analysts’ estimates.