Bloomberg-Businessweek

Companies & Industries

By Kyle Stock
August 15, 2013

There’s an increasingly clear dynamic in U.S. retail: Companies that cater to consumers who are doing just fine are doing just fine. That group includes those selling fancy pickups (Ford (F)), organic heirloom tomatoes (Whole Foods (WFM)), nonfat lattes (Starbucks (SBUX)), and mink wraps (Michael Kors (KORS)).

Retailers that rely, at least in part, however, on the bottom of the socioeconomic pyramid are still struggling. That was the message this morning as Wal-Mart (WMT), the world’s largest retailer, reported financial results well below expectations.

The numbers weren’t particularly shocking. Wal-Mart still made a hefty chunk of money, $4.1 billion, and improved sales by 2.3 percent. Revenue at U.S. stores open more than 12 months fell slightly, however.

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