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NEW YORK -- After mixed results in June, big-box retailers Wal-Mart, Costco, Target, and BJ's Wholesale Club all saw growth in same-store sales, with a powerful assist from food, back-to-school items, and pharmacy, among other items. The only hiccup was that Costco's 3.1 percent same-store sales increase was smaller than expected -- but the warehouse club store chain still expects to meet or exceed analysts' second-quarter profit prediction of 69 cents per share.
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. said Wednesday that same-store sales last month rose 2.4 percent. Total sales for the month ended July 28 were $25.66 billion, up 12.5 percent from $22.81 billion last year.
The Bentonville, Ark.-based retailer mentioned food among its strong performers, and also cited back-to-school price breaks.
"Our customers continued to prioritize spending on food and consumables, and they responded early to price breaks for essential back-to-school supplies," said Tom Schoewe, e.v.p. and c.f.o., in a statement.
Same-store sales at the company's Sam's Club division increased 3.1 percent.
For August, the retailer forecast same-store sales growth of 1 percent to 3 percent.
Issaquah, Wash.-based warehouse club retailer Costco Wholesale Corp. said sales for the four weeks ended July 30 were $4.48 billion, an increase of 11 percent from last fiscal year's $4.02 billion. For the 48 weeks ended July 30, the retailer saw sales of $53.23 billion, up 11 percent from $47.78 billion in 2005.
Costco's comparable store sales for July increased 6 percent, while its international comparable store sales climbed more than twice as far, with a 14 percent growth. For the first 48 weeks of its fiscal year, its U.S. comp sales grew 7 percent, while overseas saw 11 percent growth.
BJ's Wholesale Club, Inc., of Natick, Mass., said yesterday that its July 2006 sales grew 5.4 percent to $613.3 million, from $582.1 million last year. On a comparable-club basis, July sales went up 1.9 percent vs. last year, including a contribution from gasoline sales of 1.1 percent. Last year the company reported comparable-club sales growth of 4.7 percent for July, including a contribution from gas sales of 1.4 percent.
For the second quarter ended July 29, total sales were about $2.1 billion, a rise of 5.7 percent over the year-ago period. Comparable-club sales for the second quarter of 2006 grew 1.8 percent, including a contribution from gas sales of 1.9 percent. Last year, BJ's posted a second-quarter comparable-club sales increase of 3.2 percent, including a contribution from gas sales of 0.4 percent. For the 26-week period ended July 29, total sales rose 6.0 percent and comparable-club sales increased 1.9 percent, including a contribution from gas sales of 1.7 percent. According to the company, comparable-club sales went up in all major regions, with the highest increases in upstate New York and Metro New York, and the lowest increase in the Southeast region.
On a comparable-club basis, food sales grew about 2 percent and general merchandise sales decreased about 2 percent. For August 2006, BJ's expects comparable-club sales to increase 1 percent to 2 percent, including a contribution from gas sales of 0 percent to 0.5 percent. In August 2005 the company reported a comparable-club sales increase of 5.6 percent, including a contribution from gas sales of 3.4 percent.
In Minneapolis, Target Corp. said sales for the month increased 9.6 percent to $3.9 billion from $3.5 billion in the same period last year while its same store sales rose a respectable 3.1 percent, but less than analysts' expected 3.8 percent increase.
"We met our sales plan in the second quarter despite experiencing slower sales growth in July than we had enjoyed in May or June," said Bob Ulrich, Target's chairman and c.e.o. "We remain confident that our second quarter earnings per share will meet or exceed the current First Call median estimate of 69 cents." Last year, Target earned 61 cents per share in the second quarter.
Year to date, Target's total sales increased 11.4 percent to $25.45 billion, and same-store sales rose 4.9 percent.
In other Target news, a Chicago City Council bill mandating that big-box retailers are to pay at least $10 per hour to workers has prompted the discount retailer to halt expansion plans in the Windy City.
Target will pull out of a 32-acre shopping mall, a development that it had been expected to anchor after the city committed $23 million in subsidies to it. The retailer also may withdraw from another Chicago site, the Sun-Times reported Thursday.
Target operates 1,444 Target stores in 47 states.
Issaquah, Wash.-based warehouse club retailer Costco Wholesale Corp. net sales for the four weeks ended July 30 were $4.48 billion, an increase of 11 percent from last fiscal year's $4.02 billion. For the 48 weeks ended July 30, the retailer saw net sales of $53.23 billion, an increase of 11 percent from $47.78 billion in 2005.
Costco's comparable store sales for July increased 6 percent, while its international comparable store sales increased more than twice as much, with a 14 percent growth. For the first 48 weeks of its fiscal year, its U.S. comp sales grew 7 percent, while overseas saw 11 percent growth.