Nov. 14 - Wal-mart's holiday could be far from merry. The top retailer warned its getting hit by jitters about the economy- and its customers are holding back spending. Fred Katayama reports.
Three is not a charm for Wal-mart- the world's largest retailer reported its third straight decline in comparable sales- hurt because fewer shoppers are going to its stores. That led Wal-mart to warn sales will be flat in the holiday quarter. Wal-mart CEO Mike Duke said, "Some customers feel uncertainty about the economy, government, jobs stability." Coming a day after Macy's positive outlook - the news may have caught some by surprise. But Wal-mart caters to a lower-income crowd. Many of its customers rely on food stamps, and they could suffer from this month's expiration of a temporary boost to that program. Customers had already been hit from the payroll tax hike earlier this year. Goldman Sachs analyst Matthew Fassler noted that sales improved in September and October, saying, "We view these results as higher quality than the headline print would suggest, with ... a relatively healthy sequential sales trend within the quarter." Wal-mart's stock, which is up more than 15 percent this year, fell at the market open.