Wal-Mart U.S. CEO says business trends improving

By @ibtimes on

Wal-Mart Stores Inc has seen business improve at U.S. stores over the last four weeks, but it is too soon to change the company's forecasts, the head of its U.S. business said on Thursday.

Shares of Wal-Mart rose 1.1 percent to $53.26 as Bill Simon, president and chief executive of the U.S. stores, spoke at a Bank of America Merrill Lynch conference on Thursday afternoon. His comments were also broadcast over the Internet.

We like where we're going, Simon said.

Last month, Wal-Mart said sales at its U.S. discount chain should improve as the year progresses. For the current quarter, it expected sales at stores open at least a year, or same-store sales, at its U.S. discount stores to be down 2 percent to flat, following seven consecutive quarterly declines.

U.S. sales were hurt in part by a decision, since reversed, to pare down the number of items Wal-Mart offers. Now, under Simon, Wal-Mart is bringing back its so-called action alley displays that showcase goods in store aisles, and is expanding areas such as fishing supplies.

(Reporting by Jessica Wohl, editing by Dave Zimmerman and Gerald E. McCormick)

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