Winter storms and lagging gift-card redemption iced Wal-Mart’s January same-store sales growth, the retailer said, raising concerns the US is in a recession, reports the Wall Street Journal. Wal-Mart expected 2% sales growth in stores open more than a year, but saw sales bump just 0.5%. Its 1.4% rise in same-store sales for the fiscal year was the lowest in 30 years.
Other retailers also reported sluggish January sales, and the International Council of Shopping Centers said it’s possible same-store sales could decline for the first time since 1969, when it started tracking those figures. Thompson Financial said only one-third of retailers hit January sales projections. Costco posted a 7% gain, including a 19% gain internationally due to a weak dollar.