Wal-Mart Stores Inc., which made a big push this holiday season to woo customers with aggressive discounts and marketing, estimated that its December sales will meet only the low end of its forecast.
The world's largest retailer said Saturday that sales at stores open for at least a year, known as same-store sales, are expected to be up 2.2 percent in December. The forecast was for a 2 percent to 4 percent gain. Same-store sales are considered the best indicator of a retailers' health.
The company said that general merchandise sales outpaced demand for food.
Wal-Mart, which stumbled during the holiday 2004 shopping season, came out with a holiday campaign two weeks earlier than last year. The retailer had a solid start to the season, but like many merchants, struggled with shoppers delaying their purchases longer than last year.
Why would they delay them? To get better deals?