BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Comparable-store sales declined by 1.3% at Wal-Mart’s U.S. stores in the third quarter, but company officials highlighted an improving sequential sales trend and better earnings for the period, which ended Oct. 29. The comp decline — which was within the company’s expected range — resulted as shoppers continued to battle difficult economic conditions, with the “paycheck cycle” of heavy sales and traffic at the beginnings of the month still prominent, especially in ...

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