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Costco’s same-store sales up 5% in July

BY Marianne Wilson

Issaquah, Wash. — Costco Wholesale Corp. posted a 5% increase in same-store sales in July, helped by strong sales at its U.S. stores. But the stronger dollar and lower gas prices pressured its results.

Same-store revenue at U.S. locations open was up 7% for the period ended July 29. The figure was flat for its international stores.

Taking out the impact of lower gas prices and a stronger dollar, same-store sales rose 7% for the month. In the U.S., the metric was up 8% while overseas it rose 7%.

Total revenue for July increased 8% to $7.25 billion from $6.74 billion.

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Organics, mobile top trends among ‘hottest’ retailers

BY CSA STAFF

WASHINGTON — Desire for more organic food, high-end products and mobile technologies were the driving trends of the fastest-growing retailers in the United States, according to the NationalRetailFederation’s "Hot 100 Retailers" list. Published annually in the group’s STORES August issue, the list consists of retail companies that reported the greatest increase in domestic sales between 2010 and 2011. All public and private companies with more than $300 million in sales were eligible for the list, which was compiled by Kantar Retail.

“The list of the fastest-growing retailers is in sync with current shopping trends as these merchants have a razor sharp focus on today’s consumer. Among the top ten are retailers that cater to shoppers’ desire for smaller footprint organic supermarkets, high-end workout apparel and luxury accessories, and even online shopping,” said STORES media editor Susan Reda. “Not surprisingly, Verizon Wireless, Apple Stores and AT&T Wireless round out the mix – a clear indicator of how important smartphone devices have become.”

Topping the list this year is Phoenix-based Sprouts Farmers Market, which witnessed nearly 72% year-over-year sales growth in 2011. The company has a total of 109 establishments – a 102% increase from the prior year. The family-owned organization also has ambitious growth plans for 2012 that include the merger with Sunflower Markets.
No. 2 Verizon Wireless and No. 10 AT&T Wireless both had tremendous sales growth in 2011. Verizon Wireless’ sales grew 69% last year while AT&T saw sales growth of 30%. Building on this trend, No. 9 Apple Stores/iTunes’ sales grew 37% last year. Apple also benefits from the digital side of the business with iTunes, which rakes in sales from the online purchase of music, movies and videos.

Hot 100 newcomers Michael Kors Holdings (3), Lululemon Athletica (4) and Under Armour (5) continue to make noise within the retail industry. Known for their hyper-loyal customer bases and high-end apparel and accessories, experts agree these retailers have staying power even in a shaky economy. Michael Kors’ U.S. sales grew 65% in 2011, Lululemon’s 65%, and Under Armour’s 63%.

CARE Pharmacies (6), Amazon.com (7) and Lowe’s Market Place (8) round out the hot 10.

“For all the changes we see in the Hot 100, the attributes of greatness remained consistent in 2011,” commented Bryan Gildenberg, chief knowledge officer at Kantar Retail. “Retailers that have a strong value proposition defined for their audience combined with the economic and operating savvy required to execute against it continue to define ‘winning’ in today’s challenging retail environment,” he added.

For the full list of retailers, click here.

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Dollar General welcomes older Americans in the work force

BY CSA STAFF

GOODLETTSVILLE, Tenn. — Older Americans who still want to participate in the work force will be welcomed by Dollar General. The retailer has eaffirmed its commitment to experienced workers by supporting the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP)’s “Work Reimagined” program and the 50-plus worker pledge.

“Dollar General is committed to creating job opportunities for all Americans,” said Bob Ravener, Dollar General’s EVP and chief people officer. “Experienced people bring tremendous work skills and talent to the workplace, and Dollar General is a place where every employee’s knowledge and expertise is valued.”

Dollar General has plans to add more than 6,000 new jobs in 2012 to support its more than 10,000 stores and 11 distribution centers across the country.

“Dollar General is an exciting place to work for people of all generations,” said Ravener. “We provide opportunities for employees to grow their careers, contribute to the company’s success and become involved in the community.”

“Work Reimagined” (www.workreimagined.org) utilizes the social media site LinkedIn to help connect experienced workers with their desired employers.

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