NEW YORK - August 7, 2008 - Wal-Mart, the world's largest retailer, reported July sales at stores open a year or more rose 3%, short of analysts' expectation that sales would grow 3.4%. Wal-Mart shares fell over 5%.
Fellow discount retailer Costco reported sales rose 10%, topping forecasts, while Target said sales fell 1.2% - a bigger-than-expected drop.
A variety of retailers reported lackluster sales, reflecting the end of the impact from the government stimulus checks mailed out earlier this summer.
Clothing retailers were hit particularly hard, with both Abercrombie & Fitch and Pacific Sunwear of America reporting steeper-than-expected declines. Abercrombie shares fell 10% and Pacific Sunwear fell 4.5%.
Market breadth was negative. On the New York Stock Exchange, losers topped winners by over three to one on volume of nearly 1 billion shares. On the Nasdaq, decliners topped advancers two to one on volume of 1.89 billion shares.