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Borders to offer five free books with e-book software

BY CSA STAFF

ANN ARBOR, Mich. Borders Group Inc. said Friday it will offer five free books, including a Dean Koontz novel, to customers who download the bookseller’s free electronic-book reading software.

Through July 14, customers who download the software will receive Frankenstein: Prodigal Son by Dean Koontz; One Shot by Lee Child; The Alchemyst by Michael Scott; Julia Child’s Julia’s Kitchen Wisdom and Master your Metabolism by Jillian Michaels. The books are worth more than $40 collectively, Borders said.

Customers will also get a chapter of Danielle Steel’s forthcoming novel Legacy, which isn’t available anywhere else.

Borders launched its e-bookstore earlier this week, entering the fray along with competitors Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.

Borders e-book reading software is available across an array of platforms including e-book readers and mobile devices such as the iPhone, Blackberry and Android phones with its partner Kobo.

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Most discounters report sales increases, but miss forecasts

BY CSA STAFF

New York Target Corp. said Thursday that sales were “relatively soft” in June as same-store sales rose 1.7%, short of analyst expectations. The retailer’s total revenue for the five weeks ended July 4 rose 4% to $5.92 billion.

Clothing, food, health care and beauty products were strong sellers. But electronics, video games, music and movies were weaker. CEO Gregg Steinhafel said that while sales were “relatively soft” for the second month in the quarter, its mix of products, cost cuts and improvements in its credit-card segment helped profitability in the month.

TJX Cos. on Thursday said that its June same-store rose 3%. Analysts, on average, had expected same-store sales to rise 4.2%. The company raised its outlook for the second quarter and its estimate for the full year.

Total sales for the five weeks ended July 4 rose 7% to $2 billion.

Carol Meyrowitz, president and CEO of The TJX Companies Inc., stated, “Consolidated comparable-store sales were solidly within our estimated range and The Marmaxx Group reported a comp sales increase at the high end of our forecast. It is important to note that these comp sales increases were achieved on top of our strong increases last year when many other retailers had sharp comp sales declines. Further, business continued to be driven by increases in customer traffic which led to the sustained strength that our June sales represent.”

Costco Wholesale Corp. saw June same-store sales rise 4%, marginally missing market expectations. The fact that Memorial Day fell in the June reporting period, unlike the previous year, hurt sales by about 2% , the company said. This year’s five-week period included 33 trading days in the United States versus 34 last year.

For the five weeks ended July 4, Costco’s net sales rose 7%  to $7.33 billion from the previous year.

In other same-store sales results for June:

• Ross Stores’ sales climbed 5%, just short of analysts expectations, as customers bought more items for their homes along with dresses and shoes. Overall revenue from the month rose 9% to $725 million from $666 million. The discounter boosted its second-quarter guidance. •At  BJ’s Wholesale Club Inc., sales increased 3.8%  in the five-week period ending July 3, not as much as analysts had expected. Excluding revenue from gasoline sales, the measure climbed 3.2%, missing the 4.4%  jump on that basis that analysts had expected. • Fred’s Inc. said its sales rose 1.2%, short of analysts expectations.

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ShopperTrak: Sales, traffic to grow in Q3

BY CSA STAFF

Chicago ShopperTrak said on Thursday that both retail sales and traffic for the third quarter is expected be relatively positive, compared with the same three-month period last year.

According to the company’s Retail Traffic Index (SRTI), total U.S. foot traffic is expected to decline 1% for the quarter, while the company’s National Retail Sales Estimate (NRSE) is forecasting a 2.6% retail sales rise.

ShopperTrak reported back-to-school shopping — a retail period second only to the Nov./Dec. holiday season — will once be the star of the show in the third quarter, driving retail spending throughout August.

While the company’s data shows retail sales during “back-to-school” 2009 slipped 4.9%, it does not expect a repeat of this dismal performance as value-driven consumers and pent up demand are pointing to relative recovery for retailers in 2010. Pointing to this fact, ShopperTrak’s data shows year-over-year retail sales have increased in 21-of-26 possible weeks so far this year.

Although the retail traffic intelligence provider expects a slight uptick in third-quarter sales, Bill Martin, co-founder of ShopperTrak, warned that several economic conditions could drive both retail sales and traffic downward over the next three months.

“As with several sectors, continued slow growth in the job market could have an adverse effect on retailers over the next three months,” Martin said. “This added to the possibility of even higher gasoline prices could mean fewer shopping trips to the malls, which could also negatively impact retail performance.”

Martin continued, “That being said, consumers have proven willing to spend this year and pent up demand should materialize during back-to-school season as old wardrobes and other necessary items must be replaced.”

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