By  on September 2, 2005

BOSTON — Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is hoping music and entertainment exclusives will bring a new groove to its stores.

The Bentonville, Ark., retailer said Tuesday it has inked a deal with BET, the television network aimed at African-Americans, to bring BET-branded content exclusively to its shelves.

The move follows Wal-Mart's Aug. 18 announcement that it had signed a multiyear deal with singer Garth Brooks. The $285 billion retailer, the largest seller of music in the U.S., will have a Destiny's Child exclusive at holiday.

"Anytime we can offer customers items that they can get in our one-stop shopping environment that they're not able to get anywhere else…it's a plus," said Wal-Mart spokeswoman Karen Burk.

She said wide variety and value, rather than exclusives, will continue to be the retailer's core strategy.

A Kanye West documentary DVD packaged with his new album, "Late Registration," is the first in a string of music, movies and programming packaged under the new brand, BET Official, for Wal-Mart and Sam's Club.

After a disappointing start to the year and strong competition from rival Target Stores, Wal-Mart has been overhauling its merchandise in several key areas, including apparel, accessories, home and electronics. Although the last two months have seen improved comp-store sales gains, Wal-Mart remains cautious because of escalating gasoline prices.

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