WAL-MART FINDS NEW TURF: Wal-Mart Stores will open Tuesday a 125,000-square-foot discount store in Middle Island, N.Y., the chainís first on Long Island.
Wal-Mart already operates a Sam's Club warehouse unit on Long Island, in Medford. The retailer had planned to build a Wal-Mart discount store adjacent to the Sam's, but could not get local approval.
Wal-Mart also backed away from plans to open both a Wal-Mart and a Sam's on the site of the former Roosevelt Raceway in Westbury after the company determined construction costs were too high.
In the Middle Island unit, women's merchandise will occupy about 15,000 square feet; apparel will account for about 20,000 square feet. l CREDIT IS DUE: Discount stores, mail-order houses and electronics stores racked up significant increases in holiday credit card sales.
According to MasterCard's Smart Money Watch, which tracks MasterCard, Visa, American Express and Discover card transactions over its MasterCard network, sales authorizations at discounters increased 63 percent to $1.36 billion during the holiday shopping period.
Mail-order authorizations rose 49 percent to $2.2 billion, and electronics stores saw a 39 percent increase in authorizations, to $1.2 billion in sales. MasterCard network sales authorizations jumped 35.2 percent to $17.38 billion this holiday season.

PACKING UP IN MINNEAPOLIS: Filene's Basement Corp. will assign the leases of four Minneapolis-area stores to Melville Corp., but will continue to operate its Mall of America unit, which it termed "highly successful."
The stores Filene's Basement is vacating are in Roseville, Minnetonka, Edina and downtown Minneapolis. The retailer said the move is consistent with its strategy to "refocus its efforts on high potential stores within key markets."

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