NEW YORK — With the weather warming, Easter approaching and Saddam disappearing, U.S. consumers just might be more in the mood to spend. But shoppers are still picky and stores have plenty of catching up to do to get back on track.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. said its U.S. comparable-store sales for the first week of fiscal April, which ended Friday, were tracking toward a 5 to 7 percent increase for the month. "Seasonally correct temperatures at the end of the week helped make up ground from earlier in the week," noted a spokeswoman on a recorded call. "Easter sales are currently tracking close to the sell-through levels of last year." The strongest categories for the week included fabrics and crafts, boys’ wear and office supplies.

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