BRIGHT SPOTS

Wal-Mart Sales Spike

Wal-Mart continues to be the go-to store for recession shoppers. As other retailers reported mixed numbers, Wal-Mart announced its same-store sales in February were up 5.1 percent, more than double analysts' predictions. "We believe falling gas prices significantly boosted household disposable income in February and therefore allowed for both more trips and more spending towards discretionary categories," a company executive explained. Other stores weren't so lucky: Target's same-store sales fell 4.1 percent and American Eagle dipped 7 percent.