Wal-Mart steamrolls its way through the recession

Ever notice how no one jokes much anymore about customers of Wal-Mart (WMT) being uncouth rubes who lack a complete set of teeth?

Indeed, the world's largest retailer appears to be emerging from the recession stronger than ever as middle-class consumers snap up bargains at its stores. That certainly was the case in February, when the Bentonville, Arkansas-based company reported a five percent gain in U.S. comparable same-store sales. That was well above analysts' estimates.