At Walmart This Holiday Season: Higher Toy Prices

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Walmart Stores (WMT) increased prices on thousands of toys at each store this month, as the world's largest retailer looks to turn around its trend of negative same-store sales by spurring holiday-season revenue, Bloomberg News reported.

The company on Nov. 30 sent store managers an e-mail directing them to raise prices for an average of 1,800 toys per store, the wire service said, citing a copy of the email that it obtained. Company spokesman Ravi Jariwala said the price increases were specifically for items that had been previously discounted, according to Bloomberg.

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Long known for undercutting toy-retail competitors such as Toys 'R' Us and Target (TGT), Walmart is looking to spur revenue for 2010's last two months, when about 40% of the year's toys are sold, the wire service said, citing NPD Group. Walmart is also looking to capitalize on what appears to be a consumer spending rebound. Third-quarter spending rose at its fastest pace in almost four years, according to the U.S. Commerce Department.

Walmart said last month that fiscal third-quarter same-store sales fell 1.3% from a year earlier, while year-to-date same-store sales were down 1.5%. The company also forecast a same-store sales range of between -1% and 2% for the fourth quarter.

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