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Walmart warns: Lower to middle income shoppers continue to struggle

By Mason White 9:23 AM February 22, 2013
Walmart store 

By: Debbie Gross
(Scroll down for video) The world’s largest retailer has warned that the lower to middle income shoppers continue to struggle despite the economy approving somewhat, according to a statement by the company.

Walmart reported on Thursday an 8.6 percent rise in quarterly profit due to a lower tax rate, but gave an outlook that said that lower income shoppers continue to struggle.

Walmart Stores Inc. is one of several companies such as Burger King and jewelry retailer Zale, who have warned that buyers are being harmed by smaller paychecks and deferred tax refunds. Because Walmart accounts for about 10 percent of U.S. retail spending, the company is seen as a benchmark.

While Walmart’s fourth quarter results were promising, their expectations for the near future is not.
Walmart said that while it had a good start to the holiday shopping season in November, the business has been volatile since December.

February, in particular, has been slower than expected, largely due to the decision of the Internal Revenue Service to delay accepting tax returns for eight days, until January 30, because the government had not reached an agreement on the U.S. budget.

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