Friday, February 6, 2009

Retailers Stop Making Sales Forecasts

The Wall Street Journal - After another round of weak monthly sales, more of the nation's major retailers are abandoning efforts to forecast short-term financial performance as a deepening recession makes their results increasingly unpredictable.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc.'s January sales for stores open at least a year came in slightly stronger than expected, rising 2.1% excluding gasoline sales, the retailer reported Thursday. Wal-Mart had estimated sales would increase up to 2%, and Wall Street analysts had predicted 1.1%.

Despite the positive surprise, Wal-Mart said it would no longer provide monthly sales forecasts, but would provide sales estimates four times a year.

"We believe this guidance is a more appropriate measure for our investors, particularly in volatile times when consumer swings are more difficult to predict," Wal-Mart Chief Financial Officer Tom Schoewe said in a statement.

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