Wal-Mart (WMT) Leaked Emails Point to Disastrous February Sales

February 15, 2013 2:30 PM EST
Shares of Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT) moved lower on Friday after word circulated that February sales were off to a slow start. In fact, if Wal-Mart VP Jerry Murray's assessment is correct, February sales could be a "total disaster."

On February 12th, Murray, who works in finance and logistics, sent an email to unknown parties, and these emails were later obtained by Bloomberg. A second Wal-Mart employee, Cameron Geiger, said January sales were weak.

Both Murray and Geiger cited high payroll taxes and delays in tax returns as reasons for the disappointing sales.

A Wal-Mart spokesperson warned in a statement that internal communications may lack the proper context and include individual opinions.

Investors, however, aren't taking chances. Shares of Wal-Mart are down 3.3 percent in response.

A number of related retail stocks are trading in sympathy with Wal-Mart, including Target (NYSE: TGT). Dollar stores - Dollar General Corporation (NYSE: DG), Dollar Tree, Inc. (NASDAQ: DLTR), Family Dollar Stores Inc. (NYSE: FDO) - are also weaker.

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