BENTONVILLE, Ark. — As Wal-Mart's U.S. same-store sales slump marked its ninth straight quarter last week, the retailer indicated it was slowing the pass-through of product price inflation while widening the price gap on competitors. Yet one of those competitors, Target Corp. of Minneapolis, also last week reported its strongest quarterly comparable-sales performance in four years. The difference between Wal-Mart's 0.9% comp decline and Target's 3.9% gain in their respective second quarters ...

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