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Discounters show positive movement in January

BY CSA STAFF

New York City — Costco Wholesale Corp. reported a January same-store sales increase of 9%, topping Wall Street expectations and leading the performances of the discount retail category.

Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected a smaller same-store sales increase of 6.1%.

Target Corp. didn’t show the same strength, missing expectations because of strong winter storms during the month. Same-store sales edged up 1.7% for the month, missing the 1.9% increase predicted by Wall Street.

"Target’s January comparable-store sales were below expectations, particularly in portions of the South and the Northeast," said CEO Gregg Steinhafel. Target said it expects February same-store revenue to rise by a percentage in the low single digits.

BJ’s Wholesale Club had more than just same-store sales to report. The discounter, which saw same-store sales rise 2.7%, said Thursday that it has decided “to explore and evaluate strategic alternatives, including a possible sale of the company,” according to a New York Times report. (See related story.)

In other same-store sales results for January:

  • TJX reported a 2% rise.
  • Sales at Ross Stores were up 3%.
  • Big Lots saw flat comps during the month.
  • Fred’s reported a 3.3% rise.
  • Duckwall-ALCO same-store sales edged up 0.2%.

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Ralphs pleads no contest to overcharging customers

BY CSA STAFF

Los Angeles — Ralphs Grocery Co. has pleaded no contest to overcharging customers for prepackaged and weighed products at stores in Los Angeles, according to a Thursday report by the Associated Press.

The grocery chain entered pleas before the case was scheduled to go to trial. The no contest plea was entered for 62 misdemeanor charges, including false advertising, mislabeling and selling items that weigh less than they should.

A sentencing date will be set Thursday.

City prosecutors alleged that undercover inspections at 14 stores found customers were being price-gouged.

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Walmart Latin America: ‘Sustainagility’ as key to profitable growth

BY CSA STAFF

Miami — Walmart Latin America CEO Eduardo Solorzano said Thursday in a speech that Walmart is using the company’s expertise in sustainability as a means for profitable growth.

In his address at the annual "Outlook of the Americas" luncheon of the Association of American Chambers of Commerce in Miami, Solorzano said, "We are sharing best practices across markets and developing new formats to serve the unique customs and needs of Latin America customers, but it will take leveraging the company’s expertise in sustainability to manage costs."

According to Solorzano, Walmart will move more aggressively to integrate a holistic sustainability plan that will bring the company to 100% renewable energy and zero waste. “We call it ‘sustainagility,’” he said.

Walmart opened its first store in Latin America, a Sam’s Club, in Mexico 20 years ago.

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