Tuesday, August 14, 2007

How Good Is the Bush Economy?

NEW YORK (Reuters) -- Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the world's largest retailer, reported a lower-than-expected quarterly profit and cut its full-year earnings forecast on Tuesday, saying its customers remain under economic pressure....

Chief Executive Lee Scott blamed the disappointing performance on economic pressure around the world.

"It is no secret that many customers are running out of money toward the end of the month," Scott said on a recorded conference call, adding that higher fuel prices, interest rates, utility costs and "more financial pressure" are hurting sales in its international market, including Mexico and Canada.

With more than 127 million customers visiting a Wal-Mart store or a Sam's Club location in America every week, Wal-Mart is considered a barometer of the health of the U.S. retail sector....

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