Economic Squeeze Means Merry Christmas for Wal-Mart

Retailer expects blockbuster season as cash-strapped shoppers seek bargains
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 6, 2008 3:33 AM CST
'Santa' trains his helpers at Wal-Mart's Home Office in Bentonville, Ark.    (AP)
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(Newser) – Wal-Mart is readying for bumper sales while most US retailers brace themselves for a miserable holiday season, the New York Times reports. Squeezed consumers are flocking to the discount chain as the economic downturn begins to bite. The firm is expected to report a modest increase in sales for October, while most retail chains fear a coming "bloodbath" of huge sales slumps.

Wal-Mart opened Christmas sections in stores in early October, and is aiming to draw value-conscious shoppers away from other firms with heavy discounts. "In my mind, there is no doubt that this is Wal-Mart time," the company's president told a recent meeting of investors. "This is the kind of environment that Sam Walton built this company for.”