CHICAGO – Wal-Mart Stores Inc, the world's largest retailer, Monday said sales at its stores open at least a year in January were tracking at the high end of the company's forecast, while Federated Department Store Inc. said sales were weak.
"Our original estimate for the January period was for a comparable sales increase of the 4 percent to 6 percent range," Wal-Mart said. "So far, total company sales are at the upper end of that range."
Sales during the third week of the January period, ending on Feb. 1, were above the company's plan at its Wal-Mart discount stores and at its Sam's Club warehouse stores, the company said on a recorded sales call.
In contrast, Federated said its January same-store sales were tracking at the low end of its forecast for a decline of 7 percent to 10 percent.
"Sales in the third week (of the month) continued tough," Federated, parent of Macy's and Bloomingdale's, said on a recorded sales call.
In the U.S. recession, discount chains like Wal-Mart have outperformed department stores as money-conscious consumers cut back on purchases of items like clothing.
Shares of Bentonville, Arkansas-based Wal-Mart were up 43 cents at $58.83 in early Monday trading on the New York Stock Exchange. Shares of Federated were up $1.10 at $41.50.