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WAL-MART CLOSE TO TOPPING SEARS

For Wal-Mart Stores Inc., it's one down and one to go.

The Bentonville, Ark.-based retailer slipped past Kmart in November to become America's No. 2 retailer, according to sales figures released last week. Now, industry analysts say that early next year Wal-Mart will overtake Sears, Roebuck and Co. as the nation's top retailer.

Even Sears is conceding defeat. "In terms of dollar signs, they will surpass us. There's no doubt about it," Gordon Jones, a Sears spokesman, said. The figures showed Chicago-based Sears with $27.48 billion in sales for the first 10 months of 1990. Wal-Mart sales for the same period were $25.46 billion. But Wal-Mart's growth rate was 25 percent, while Sears grew at just 2.1 percent.

Kmart's sales for the first 10 months of the year totaled $25.2 billion.

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