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Costco and TJX beat estimates in September, Target misses

New York -- Costco Wholesale Corp. reported a better-than-expected 6% rise in September same-store sales, helped by higher gasoline prices and a stronger dollar. Excluding the impact of gasoline prices and foreign exchange, comparable September same-store sales rose 5%.

Net sales rose 8% to $9.31 billion in the five weeks ended Sept. 30. Costco, which currently operates 608 warehouses, said it plans to open up to 14 new warehouses prior to the end of calendar year 2012.

Target Corp. said its same-store sales rose 2.1% in September, boosted by sales of back-to-school items and groceries. Analysts expected a 2.2% increase.

The chain’s total sales for the five weeks ended Sept. 29 rose 2.6% to $6.08 billion.

“Target's comparable-store sales performance in September was in line with our guidance for the month," said Gregg Steinhafel, chairman, president and CEO of Target Corp. "We're pleased with our sales results through the first two months of the quarter and believe we remain on-track to attain our third-quarter sales and profit goals."

The TJX Cos. reported that September same-store sales rose 6%, beating Wall Street predictions. The company said it would have raised its earnings outlook for the third quarter because of its strong September, but is leaving its guidance at 56 cents to 59 cents per share because it is taking a two-cent charge related to pension costs.

“We are particularly happy with business at TJX Europe, where comp sales increased 13%,” said TJX CEO Carol Meyrowitz. “Our results in Europe represent consistently good performance and an increasingly strong trend, which underscore our confidence in our European growth opportunity. It’s important to note that we ended the month with great momentum across the board, which bodes well for the rest of the fall as well as the 2012 holiday selling season, which we believe will be terrific for TJX!”

In other discounter results:

Ross Stores reported a 5% increase in same-store sales. Sales increased 10% to $800 million for the five weeks ended September 29, 2012, up from $726 million in sales for the five weeks ended October 1, 2011.

Michael Balmuth, vice chairman and CEO, commented: "We are pleased with same store sales gains in September that continued to outperform our expectations. The primary driver of our favorable business trends year-to-date remains our ongoing focus on delivering fresh and exciting assortments of name brand bargains that continue to resonate with today's value-focused consumers."