In recent days, we've detailed the damage that Hurricanes Frances and Charley have had on companies such as JetBlue Airways
Though noting that Hurricane Frances had an impact on some 150 stores, Wal-Mart said that sales picked up at those locations after the storm passed. The company also said that, as customers tend to stock up on supplies before hurricanes and come back for cleaning materials afterwards, merely the timing of the sales -- rather than overall sales -- would be affected by the hurricanes.
In a piece of somewhat bright news, Wal-Mart reported that the anemic back-to-school sales caused mostly by a late Labor Day weekend that delayed the start of school have finally picked up. The retailer pointed to strong sales of such things as bedding, electronics, clothing, and sporting goods in backing its same-store sales growth figures.
Taking into consideration factors such as hurricanes, high fuel prices, and possibly consumers plain running low on cash, you might be forgiving if things aren't so hot at Wal-Mart. But if sales really are picking up again, investors can perhaps take solace in the fact that things could be worse.
Fool contributor Jeff Hwang owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway.