Existing store sales at the world's largest retailer rose for the eighth straight quarter, and Wal-Mart raised its profit forecast for the year. Fred Katayama reports.
More shoppers visited Wal-Mart's stores and spent more money, helping it buck the weak sales trend hurting rivals like Target. Its existing store sales in the U.S. rose for the eighth straight quarter. Home products, toys and sporting goods helped boost revenue at the world's largest retailer. Profit rose sharply, and Wal-Mart raised its earnings forecast for the full year. Wal-Mart's move to boost wages has apparently paid off, leading to cleaner stores, faster checkouts, and friendlier service. The company has also been investing in its online operations, and it's buying the start up e-tailer, Jet.com. Telsey Advisory Group senior analyst Joseph Feldman said, "Investing a lot in people, technology and the stores have come to roost. And low-to-middle income consumers are more willing to spend lately, especially with lower gas prices and higher wages, and that's benefiting Wal-Mart." Wal-Mart shares adding to their 19 percent gain this year in early trading. Wal-Mart's performance marks a sharp contrast to Target, where slow traffic slammed same-store sales and led the retailer to lower its profit forecast for the full year.