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Costco and Target report solid increases, but fall short of Street

BY Marianne Wilson

New York City — Costco Wholesale Corp. reported a 9% increase in same-store sales in October, helped by strong performances in the United States and abroad, just short of the 9.2% increase predicted by analysts.

Costco’s same-store U.S. sales rose 9% and were up 8% overseas. Taking out inflation in gas prices and a slightly negative impact from foreign currencies, the metric increased 6% in the United State and 9% internationally.

Target Corp. said Thursday that same-store sales rose 3.3% in October, below analysts’ estimates of 4.2%. Target CEO Gregg Steinhafel said he was pleased with the chain’s performance, which was up from a 1.7% increase in the year-ago period.

“We’re confident that our merchandising and marketing plans position Target to drive strong results throughout the holiday season and beyond,” he said.

The retailer reported that an increase in the average size of each transaction offset a slight decline in the number of transactions. Customers loaded up on essentials, with food and household products performing the best. Sales were softer for non-necessities like jewelry and home decor.

  • The TJX Cos. said that its October same-store sales increased by 3%, better than the 2.8% gain predicted by analysts.

TJX CEO Carol Meyrowitz stated: “We are pleased that our October comparable store sales increase of 3% on both a consolidated basis and at The Marmaxx Group came in at the high end of our expected range, despite unseasonably warm weather negatively impacting cold-weather apparel sales in certain key regions of the United States and Canada. Notably, business in the United States picked up nicely as the weather turned colder toward the end of the month. We are also pleased with the progress we are making at TJX Europe.

In other discount same-store sales results for October:

  • Ross Stores reported a 5% increase, ahead of its expectations, and raised its third quarter guidance. The company said juniors and shoes were the strongest merchandise categories in October, while Florida remained the best-performing market.
  • Duckwall-Alco Stores reported a 2.8% increase, excluding fuel.
  • Fred’s posted a 2% increase.

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Sears Holdings enters the future of shopping with mobile walls

BY CSA STAFF

HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. — Sears Holdings has entered the future of staying connected to consumers introducing mobile shopping walls in high-traffic areas.

The shopping walls, which will feature top toys that customers can purchase from their smartphones by scanning the products’ QR code, will be available in select malls across the United States, and, for Kmart only, in movie theater lobbies in major markets. Additionally, shoppers can find the Sears and Kmart mobile walls in airports in Chicago, Dallas, Denver and Puerto Rico, and at bus shelters nationwide.

“With the hectic holiday season, we know how important it is to make shopping as convenient as possible, which is why we are bringing the Sears and Kmart shopping experience to places that correspond with our customers’ everyday routines,” said Hugo Malan, SVP and president fitness, sporting goods and toys. “As more shoppers head online to do their holiday shopping, consumers are now able to be more productive during their wait time. For example, customers can literally do all their holiday toy shopping while they wait for the bus or a delayed flight home.”

Shopping for items via a virtual wall may be a new concept for Americans, but as Retailing Today pointed out in Walmart News Now issue in August, it is already a popular way to shop in Asian markets. For example, Tesco has developed an interesting shopper marketing solution that appeals to time-starved Korean commuters. To see how it works, checking out thisawesome video.

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Costco results offer insight into other warehouse-club retailers

BY CSA STAFF

ISSAQUAH, Wash. — With BJ’s no longer reporting monthly sales, Costco is the only warehouse-club retailer left to give some insight regarding how Sam’s Club performs on monthly basis. With Costco delivering positive comps for the month, it is safe to assume that Sam’s and BJ’s have garnered their fair share of the market.

Costco Wholesale reported net sales of $7.01 billion for the month of October, the four weeks ended Oct. 30, 2011, an increase of 11% from $6.3 billion during the similar four-week period last year.

Total comparable-club sales for the month were up 9%. U.S. comparable-store sales were up 9%, while international comps rose 8%. Excluding the impact of fuel and foreign currencies total comps rose 7%, U.S. comps rose 6% and international comps rose 9%.

For the first nine weeks of its reporting period ended October 30, 2011, the company reported net sales of $15.62 billion, an increase of 13% from $13.81 billion during the similar period last year.

Costco currently operates 595 warehouses, including 432 in the United States and Puerto Rico, 82 in Canada, 32 in Mexico, 22 in the United Kingdom, nine in Japan, eight in Taiwan, seven in Korea and three in Australia.

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