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Lumps Of Coal For The Waltons This Christmas?

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Things are not looking good for Wal-Mart, Forbes reports:

The discount giant announced over the weekend that its same-store sales for October grew by just 0.5%, the company's most anemic monthly growth rate since 2000. At the same time, a government report shows that consumers kept a firm grip on their wallets in September, boosting spending by just 0.1%, the smallest increase in ten months.
With the all-important holiday shopping season around the corner, major retailers are poised for their usual joust over consumer dollars. The battle may be more intense than usual this year, with high gas prices and a general economic slowdown pointing to a deceleration from the rate of spending growth in 2005.
Wall Street, meanwhile, is doing its best to handicap the upcoming slugfest, presenting investors with their best and worst bets on department stores, electronics sellers and specialty stores.
Merrill Lynch is already predicting a lackluster season for big-box discounters Wal-Mart Stores (nyse: WMT - news - people ) and Target (nyse: TGT - news - people ), whose sheer size makes it difficult to drive year-over-year sales.

We’re not much ones for passing moral judgment—pots/kettles, glass houses/stones having nothing to do with our abstention—but perhaps the ‘Mart should think about Karma and her predilection for being a bitch the next time it decides to take away stools from older cashiers in order to encourage them to quit and requiring workers—including those with young children—to be on call 24 hours a day. (Then again, those old people/damn kids probably had it coming).
Wal-Mart's Trailing The Pack [Forbes]