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Wal-Mart stock hit by sales 'disaster' report

7:34 AM, Feb 16, 2013   |    comments
A sign in front of Wal-Mart Stores' headquarters in Bentonville, Ark. (Photo: Wal-Mart Stores)
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USA TODAY - The stock of Wal-Mart Stores (WMT) dropped like a rock Friday after Bloomberg quoted an internal memo that called February sales at the world's biggest retailer "a total disaster."

"In case you haven't seen a sales report these days, February MTD (month-to-date) sales are a total disaster," Jerry Murray, Wal- Mart's vice president of finance and logistics, said in a Feb. 12 e-mail to other executives, according to Bloomberg news service. "The worst start to a month I have seen in my seven years with the company."

Wal-Mart shares ended Friday down 2.2% at $69.30 apiece, just about in the middle of the company's 52-week trading range. Just after the news broke around 2:30 p.m., the stock had fallen to $68.13 a share before rebounding as the end of the trading session approached.

Bloomberg said executives blamed the drop on increased payroll taxes and delayed tax returns.

In response to the report, a Wal-Mart spokesman said, "As with any organization, we often see internal communications that are not entirely accurate, that lack the proper context and represent individual opinions."

Wal-Mart is scheduled to report fourth-quarter earnings Feb. 21.

(Copyright © 2013 USA TODAY)

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