Wal-Mart again finds U.S. growth elusive as shoppers stay away


Wal-Mart Stores’ [fortune-stock symbol=”WMT”] U.S. shoppers just won’t budge.

The discount chain is still feeling the pinch of shoppers pulling back on trips to its stores and cuts to food stamp programs many of its customers rely on.

Wal-Mart on Thursday reported comparable U.S. sales were unchanged in the three months ended July 31, extending a streak of quarters without growth to six in the key metric, which blends e-commerce with sales at stores open at least a year. (They had actually declined in each of the previous five quarters, if that’s any consolation to the company. And overall U.S. sales grew thanks to new store openings.)

The world’s largest retailer also cut its profit forecast for the year, blaming higher than expected health care costs for employees and saying it would ramp up its spending on its e-commerce capacity.

Despite some bright spots, like solid sales gains at its…

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