The head of Wal-Mart Stores Inc
There's still a lot of stress, Wal-Mart CEO Mike Duke said on NBC's Today Show.
It's not a 'V' recession, where we're just going to bounce out and come back, he said.
Duke made the comments a day after a government report showed that sales at U.S. retailers unexpectedly fell 1.1 percent in March, and came after Wal-Mart last week reported a lower-than-expected rise in March sales at U.S. stores open at least a year.
The reports have dimmed hopes that the U.S. recession is close to hitting bottom, and show consumers are unswayed from their new frugal mind-set.
Duke said that by the end of the month, just before traditional paydays, customers are left with only a few dollars to spend.
He said the downturn will lead to a sustained change in the way that families live.
(Reporting by Andy Sullivan and Nicole Maestri, editing by Gerald E. McCormick and Maureen Bavdek)