By  on August 14, 2009

Five retailers filing second-quarter results Thursday, including the world’s largest, all exceeded or met analysts’ expectations despite declines in their same-store sales.

In a clear display of the importance being placed on inventory and balance-sheet management in a period of historically weak consumer demand, only one of the reporting companies — Wal-Mart Stores Inc. — posted an increase in earnings, and its 1.4 percent pickup came despite a 1.2 percent comparable-store sales decline, excluding fuel, after the first quarter in which it didn’t report its results monthly.

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