At Walmart This Holiday Season: Higher Toy Prices

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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