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Soft Sales at Wal-Mart

Wal-Mart Stores issued a sobering warning for the holiday shopping season Thursday, predicting its December same-store sales would be flat to up 1%.

The news, coupled with Wal-Mart's expected announcement that same-store sales fell 0.1% in November -- the first decline in 10 years -- came as the nation's retailers were reporting a mixed November sales performance. Analysts had Same-store sales reflect business at stores open at least a year and are the industry standard for measuring a retailer's strength.

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