Wal-Mart beats January forecasts

(February 5, 2004) - (Undated-AP) -- Record-breaking cold temperatures and clearance sales helped lift January sales above expectations at Wal-Mart and many other major retailers. The January increase followed what was a respectable holiday season for many retailers. Bentonville-based Wal-Mart is the world's largest retailer. The company reported that January sales at stores opened at least a year were up five-point-seven percent. The results exceeded the four-point-one percent estimate of analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call. Total sales at Wal-Mart were up 14-point-three percent. Same-store sales are considered the best measure of a retailer's health.