NEITHER TRICK NOR TREAT FOR WAL-MART: Wal-Mart Stores Inc. said on Saturday that October same-store sales for the four weeks ended Oct. 27 rose 0.5 percent. The paltry gain is below the discounter's recently lowered forecast. Wal-Mart executives during a conference call last Monday said October sales were close to September's 1.3 percent gain, an estimate that itself was below the company's previously anticipated 2 to 4 percent gain for the month. In Saturday's sales call update, the company said it would officially release final October sales figures on Nov. 2. Wal-Mart has been adding upscale merchandise to its stores in a bid to get higher income shoppers to spend more at the discounter, but company executives acknowledged during an analyst meeting last week that it offered too much of the newer trendy apparel and not enough of the fashion basics to meet the demand of its core customers. Company executives also said the discounter encountered sales disruptions at stores undergoing remodeling.

VILLAGE PEOPLE: Value Retail plc, a London designer outlet group, has a new outpost in Ireland. The company has just opened a shopping mall on the outskirts of Dublin called Kildare Village, a 118,000-square-foot retail space with 58 retail units. Brands include Molton Brown, Karen Millen, Calvin Klein Jeans, Reebok, Petit Bateau and Quiksilver. "Dublin is one of the European Union's most successful economies, and has a lot of tourist trade," said a Value Retail spokesman. He added that Kildare Village was already trading at $900 to $1,050 per square foot per year, compared with Value Retail's flagship Bicester Village, near Oxford, England, which has sales of $1,500 per square foot per year. Kildare is the ninth opening for Value Retail, which has outlets in six European countries.

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