Wal-Mart shares fall on report of weak February sales

Shares of Wal-Mart Stores Inc (WMT.N: Quote) fell 2.1 percent on Friday after Bloomberg quoted a mid-level executive's email as saying the world's largest retailer had the worst sales start to any month in seven years in February.

Wal-Mart executives blamed the poor sales performance on increased payroll taxes as well as delayed tax returns, Bloomberg said.

Higher payroll taxes this year are seen as a potential problem for Wal-Mart and other discount retailers that try to attract lower-income customers who have less disposable income.

"In case you haven't seen a sales report these days, February (month-to-date) sales are a total disaster," Jerry Murray, a Wal-Mart vice president who works on finance in the U.S. logistics division, said in a February 12 email to other executives, Bloomberg reported. "The worst start to a month I have seen in my (about) 7 years with the company."

The weak February sales start came after a disappointing January, according to an email from Cameron Geiger, senior vice president of Wal-Mart U.S. Replenishment. Geiger's email was also quoted by Bloomberg. The replenishment department works on moving products from distribution centers to stores.


Full article courtesy of Reuters Canada