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Same-store sales up in July, boosted by heavy promotions

BY Dan Berthiaume

New York — A group of 11 large U.S. retailers that report same-store sales results each month had a generally strong showing in July. However, Thomson Reuters analysis indicates significant discounting helped drive an overall 4.4% increase, more than double the 1.4% same-store sales rise recorded in July of last year.

Same-store sales at American Apparel rose 8%, while a 2.1% lift at The Buckle came in slightly below Wall Street expectations and same-store sales at Cato Corp. fell 5%, which the retailer attributed to economic volatility and uncertainty.

Discounted gasoline helped create a 4% same-store sales lift at Costco Wholesale Corp, which came in below the 5.1% growth expected by analysts. Soft electronics demand put a damper on same-store sales, while a strong U.S. dollar helped negate an 8% increase in international same-store sales.

Promotions at Fred’s Inc. spurred a 2.5% same-store sales increase and performance at the Canadian La Senza chain drove a 3% rise at L Brands, parent company of Victoria’s Secret and Bath & Body Works. That figure doubled analyst predictions of a 1.5% boost at L Brands.

General merchandise helped produce a 0.7% same-store sales increase at Rite Aid Corp., while discounts on bottled water and soda produced heavier store traffic that resulted in 6.3% same-store sales growth at Walgreens Corp. A 0.8% same-store sales boost at Zumiez Corp. was weaker than expected.

Gap Inc. will release its same-store sales figures after the close of the market today.

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AT&T, LaGrange, Ill.

BY CSA STAFF
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AT&T has transformed its store in LaGrange, Ill., to a new look that the company is rolling out at new and redesigned stores nationwide. Focused on the customer experience, the store is designed to offer a more interactive and inviting environment. Many of the elements (design and merchandising) were introduced at AT&T’s flagship on North Michigan Avenue in Chicago.

The makeover starts on the façade, which invites customers in with a unique porch feature and large open windows that maximize daylight and views in and out of the store. On the interior, a flexible design, with flexible wall systems, encourages exploration.

The finish palette, which blends the warmth of wood with glossy white high-tech finishes, is balanced by the bold pop of AT&T’s signature orange hue. Digital screens are integrated throughout the space for interaction, education and the delivery of brand content.

The layout highlights AT&T’s products and services in three distinct zones:

The Connected Experience Zone features “lifestyle vignettes” that offer customers a glimpse of how solutions can be used in their everyday lives.

The Community Zone offers “community tables” that encourage customers to shop and play in an open and interactive space. Shoppers can explore apps, accessories and devices to see how they all work together.

The Explore Zone highlights AT&T’s diverse line-up of devices and accessories.

The store eschews traditional cash register and service counters and printed brochures and signs. Customers can sit side-by-side with AT&T associates at round, café-styled tables and ask questions or learn about products or services. And all associates are equipped with tablets supported by a new mobile point-of-sale system so that transactions can occur anywhere in the store. Information is provided via digital signs, e-brochures and interactive video monitors.


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Costco same-store July sales rise but miss estimates

BY CSA STAFF

ISSAQUAH, Wash. — Costco Wholesale Corporation reported net sales of $7.87 billion for the month of July, the four weeks ended August 4, an increase of 7% from $7.36 billion during the similar period last year.

For the 48 weeks ended August 4, the company reported net sales of $94.91 billion, an increase of 8% from $87.7 billion during the similar period last year.

For the four-week period, changes in gasoline prices had a positive impact while foreign exchange rates had a negative impact on comparable sales. These impacts were immaterial for the 48-week period.

Comparable-store sales for the four-week period were up 4%, compared to the same period last year. However, according to a Reuters report, same-store sales for the month missed analysts’ estimates of 5.1%.

Costco currently operates 632 warehouses, including 451 in the United States and Puerto Rico, 85 in Canada, 33 in Mexico, 25 in the United Kingdom, 17 in Japan, 9 in Taiwan, 9 in Korea and 3 in Australia. The company plans to open up to an additional two new warehouses prior to the end of its fiscal year on September 1. Costco also operates electronic commerce websites at www.costco.com, www.costco.ca and www.costco.co.uk.

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