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• Wal-Mart said yesterday that it appears that its 2007 holiday strategy, which was aimed at limited-time discounts that were designed to get customers into the stores early and often, appears to have paid off. The retailer’s December net sales were $46.6 billion, up from $42.99 billion a year ago, with US same-store sales up 2.6 percent in the Wal-Mart division, and up 1.3 percent in the Sam’s Club stores.

Eduardo Castro-Wright, head of Wal-Mart's U.S. stores division, attributed the improvement to "Wal-Mart's food performance (which) was very strong, which helped drive traffic to other areas of the stores."

• At Target, which in the recent past has tended to outperform Wal-Mart, it was a different story. December sales increased 0.1 percent to $9.26 billion from $9.25 billion, and same-store sales were up just 0.6 percent.

• BJ’s Wholesale Club announced that its December sales were up 6.2 percent to $1.03 billion, with same-store sales up three percent.

• Germany-based Metro AG said yesterday that its 2007 sales were up 10 percent to the equivalent of $97 billion.

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