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Costco, Target and BJ’s exceed expectations in June

BY Katherine Boccaccio

New York City — Discounters and warehouse clubs turned in robust performances in June, led by Costco Wholesale Club, whose same-store sales in the United States rose 12%, while internationally same-store sales jumped 18%. Excluding the impact of inflation in gasoline prices and stronger foreign currencies, Costco said same-store sales in June rose 8%. Its results beat expectations.

BJ’s Wholesale Club also beat Wall Street estimates with a 7.3% same-store sales gain in June, which included a fuel sales contribution of 3.8%. Total sales rose 10.3% to $1.18 billion.

Target topped estimates, posting a same-store sales gain of 4.5%, handily beating the 3.2% estimated by Wall Street. Target said the results were at the “high end” of its own internally expected range, helped by an increase in average ticket size. The chain said the grocery category was its strongest performer. Health-and-beauty products and clothing basics such as tights and underwear were also strong. Movies, books and home decor were weaker.

Total sales for the five weeks ended July 3 increased by 5.7% to $6.26 billion.

Other discount sales results for June included:

  • TJX Cos. same-store sales rose 5%.
  • Steinmart same-store sales declined 1.5%.
  • Fred’s reported that same-store sales dipped 0.7%.

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Macy’s, Kohl’s outperform J.C. Penney in June

BY Katherine Boccaccio

New York City — With same-store sales increases of 6.7% and 7.5% respectively, Macy’s and Kohl’s outperformed rival J.C. Penney in June, as J.C. Penney came up short of Wall Street estimates with a slight 2% gain.

Macy’s saw total sales rise 7.5% in June to $2.4 billion.

“Sales growth in June exceeded our expectations,” said Terry J. Lundgren, chairman, president and CEO. “Once again, the growth came from across the company — Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s stores and online sites.”

Macy’s is again raising its guidance for second quarter sales.

Kohl’s blew past Wall Street expectations in June, as it recorded a same-store sales rise of 7.5% against an estimated 2.9% increase by Thomson Reuters. President and CEO Kevin Mansell credited good weather for the strong performance. Total sales rose 9.2% to $1.75 billion.

J.C. Penney disappointed with a 2% rise in same-store sales for June, as Wall Street expected a 2.3% increase. Total revenue dipped 0.3% to $1.55 billion. Citing a weaker-than-expected retail environment for mid-priced shoppers, J.C. Penney lowered its guidance for the second quarter.

In other department store same-store results for June:

  • Nordstrom same-store sales increased 7.9%.
  • Dillard’s same-store sales rose 6%, and total sales rose 5% to $2.4 billion.
  • Bon-Ton Stores same-store sales dipped 0.9%.
  • Stage Stores same-store sales rose 1.8%, edging expectations.

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ICSC forecasts back-to-school sales up 3%

BY Staff Writer

New York City — The International Council of Shopping Centers is forecasting an increase of 3% to $39 billion in total sales over the three-month back-to-school shopping season.

According to ICSC on Thursday, sales for the back-to-school season — typically the second-largest driver of the year — are predicted to be healthy.

“The 2011 retail environment is a bit different from 2010 and while we expect this year to be slightly more moderate than last, the overall message from this projection is that sales are still likely to be quite healthy,” said Michael P. Niemira, chief economist and director of research for ICSC. “While there have been some marginal improvements in both consumer confidence and the unemployment rate, compared to the lead-in to the 2010 back-to-school season, the rise in cotton prices has lead to increased prices on apparel, a key category in back-to-school spending.”

The Commerce Department has segmented retail back-to-school sales categories as family clothing, shoes, electronics and books. According to ICSC’s forecast, in 2011 family clothing and shoes will be the strongest performing segments, posting 3.5% gains, while books will be the weakest segment with a 1.5% increase.

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