updated 10/4/2006 4:04:35 PM ET 2006-10-04T20:04:35

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. on Wednesday lowered its estimate of the increase in September sales at stores open at least a year to 1.3 percent from 1.8 percent.

The company said it “incorrectly coded” 235 Wal-Mart stores and Sam’s Club warehouse stores in calculating comparable sales for the five weeks comprising the September period.

“The 1.3 percent revised comparable sales estimate reflects the correction for these stores and clubs. Total sales were not affected,” the company said in a news release.

Shares in Wal-Mart, the world’s largest retailer, fell 69 cents, or 1.4 percent, to $48.77 in morning trading on the New York Stock Exchange, but are still near the upper end of their 52-week range of $50.87 to $42.31.

Sales at stores open at least a year, also known as same-store or comparable sales, are considered a key indicator of a retailer’s health. Wal-Mart noted in its Saturday sales release that latest sales were being compared to sales last year influenced by buying after Hurricane Katrina.

The retailer said it would announce early Thursday its official sales figures for the five-week September period.

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