CHICAGO – Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT) Thursday confirmed that April sales at its U.S. stores open at least a year rose 0.9 percent, meeting its forecast, as food sales made up for modest demand in general merchandise.
The world's biggest retailer had estimated Saturday that same-store sales rose 0.9 percent, near the middle of its forecast for sales to be flat to up 2 percent.
The company also forecast a 2 percent to 4 percent increase in May same-store sales.
Last year, Wal-Mart (search) recorded a 4.4 percent gain in April same-store sales, but this year steep energy prices and unusually cool weather in parts of the United States curbed consumer spending (search).
Same-store sales at its namesake Wal-Mart discount stores rose just 0.1 percent, while the Sam's Club warehouse division posted a 4.9 percent increase.
However, Wal-Mart said Sam's Club sales were up only 3.4 percent excluding sales of gasoline. The sales figure for the Wal-Mart discount stores excludes gasoline sales. Wal-Mart has gas stations at many of its stores.
On a recorded message detailing its sales performance, Wal-Mart said there were fewer shoppers at its stores than there were a year earlier, but the average amount spent per transaction rose.