updated 10/30/2006 9:34:32 AM ET 2006-10-30T14:34:32

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. on Saturday estimated that October sales rose just 0.5 percent at its U.S. stores open at least a year, hurt by disappointing apparel demand and disruption from store remodeling efforts.

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The world’s biggest retailer had originally forecast 2 percent to 4 percent October same-store sales growth, but warned earlier this week that the figure would likely be closer to 1 percent.

Wal-Mart, the world’s biggest retailer, has been adding more upscale merchandise such as flat-panel televisions and trendy apparel in a bid to get wealthier shoppers to buy more.

But the fashionable clothing has not sold well this fall. Wal-Mart said at an analyst meeting this week that it went too far in adding trendy lines and did not stock enough of the basic fashion apparel that appeals to its core customers.

The company also acknowledged that remodeling projects at hundreds of its U.S. stores disrupted sales more than it had predicted, although sales rebounded once the jobs were completed.

Wal-Mart and most other major retailers will release final October sales reports on Thursday.

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