Wal-Mart is to end its monthly sales reporting, which the retailer has been doing since 1979, to “better align investors with the retailer’s business plan and cut volatility caused by holiday shifts”, said Wal-Mart chief financial officer Tom Schoewe.

Separately, Easter’s April timing helped improve US retailers’ same-store sales growth for the month to 0.9 per cent for 35 retailers providing monthly results, research conducted by consultancy Retail Forward showed. The figure was up from a decline of 1.9 per cent in March.