Wal-Mart Leads Feb. Retail Rally

Overall sales jump doubles expectations, calms consumer spending fears
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 6, 2008 10:47 AM CST
Police Officer Mark Lowery hula-hoops for Amanda Linehand, 6, of Hampton, Fa., while the two shop together at the Wal-Mart supercenter in Starke,Fla., Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2007. Wal-Mart led among U.S....   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Big retailers showed unexpected signs of life in February, beating weak sales predictions to inject some hope into the market. Wal-Mart led the way, posting a 2.6% same-store increase, beating its own predictions of flat-to-2% growth. Overall, same-store sales climbed 1.9%, with more than half of retailers beating predictions, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Wal-Mart scored big by aggressively slashing prices, Bloomberg reports, and overall, discount retailers made out best. “You've got a large swing set in Middle America,” said one consultant. “In good times, they buy up into department store categories, and in tougher times, they buy down.” One analyst isn’t convinced by the turnaround. “Investors should run from retail,” he said. “Everybody should.” (Read more National Retail Federation stories.)