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Wal-Mart Traffic Up as Gas Prices Down

Bentonville, Ark. Wal-Mart said Tuesday that as gas prices drop, its stores are seeing increased traffic.

U.S. CEO Eduardo Castro-Wright, speaking at a Morgan Stanley conference that was broadcast over the Internet, said that as gas prices rose this year, shoppers cut down on trips to its rural stores.

As gas prices fell in October, Wal-Mart saw an increase in traffic to both its rural and urban stores, he said.

While customers are coming into its stores more frequently, they are not necessarily spending less during their visits, a trend that should favor the retailer, he added.

Earlier this month, Wal-Mart reported a nearly 10% rise in quarterly profit as shoppers scoured its stores for discounts on food, toiletries and medicine.

To gain market share in what is forecast to be a difficult holiday sales season, Wal-Mart has said it will introduce a new round of price cuts every week until Christmas.

On Tuesday, as part of that strategy, it announced price reductions on food, hoping to draw shoppers into its stores ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday.

Wal-Mart also said it will give its 1.4 million U.S. employees a 10% discount on all food items through Jan 1.