Wal-Mart customers hurt by gas prices, uncertainty

(September 9, 2004) - NEW YORK (Dow Jones/AP) - Speaking at a Global Retailing Conference in New York yesterday, Wal-Mart's CEO said the company's business environment is challenging. Lee Scott said Wal-Mart's customers are being affected by rising energy costs and doubts about the strength of the economy. Scott said Wal-Mart's core customers are affected in particular because they are economically challenged. He said that about 20 percent of Wal-Mart customers don't have a checking accounts and live paycheck to paycheck. Wal-Mart, which operates more than 48-hundred stores and employs 1.5 million people, had 256-billion-dollars in sales for its fiscal year ended in January.