US discount retail giant Wal-Mart has said it expects December sales to be slower than previously forecast.

Wal-Mart said it now expects same-store sales to reach only the lower end of its forecast of 3-5% growth in December.

The retailer said there were lower numbers of customers at its stores last week, which it attributed to the increasing popularity of last minute Christmas shopping. US consumers are used to being able to get last minute bargains and so have been finishing their holiday shopping later than usual, reported Reuters.

Last year, Wal-Mart recorded December same-store sales growth of 2.3%.