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Target to stop reporting monthly sales

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — Target Corp. will soon join the ranks of retailers who are no longer reporting monthly same-store sales. The discounter on Thursday said it will no longer report comparable sales, beginning in fiscal 2013.

“This decision is based on discussions with many of our investors and is consistent with the practice of the vast majority of our retail peers,” said John Mulligan, CFO, Target. “We believe aligning our sales guidance and reporting with disclosure of our quarterly financial results will create a longer-term focus and provide greater understanding of our sales results in the context of our overall financial performance.”

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Costco and TJX beat estimates in September

BY CSA STAFF

NEWYORK — Costco Wholesale Corp. reported a better-than-expected 6% rise in September same-store sales, helped by higher gasoline prices and a stronger dollar. Excluding the impact of gasoline prices and foreign exchange, comparable September same-store sales rose 5%.

Net sales rose 8% to $9.31 billion in the five weeks ended Sept. 30. Costco, which currently operates 608 warehouses, said it plans to open up to 14 new warehouses prior to the end of calendar year 2012.

The TJX Cos. reported that September same-store sales rose 6%, beating Wall Street predictions. The company said it would have raised its earnings outlook for the third quarter because of its strong September, but is leaving its guidance at 56 cents to 59 cents per share because it is taking a two-cent charge related to pension costs.

“We are particularly happy with business at TJX Europe, where comp sales increased 13%,” said TJX CEO Carol Meyrowitz. “Our results in Europe represent consistently good performance and an increasingly strong trend, which underscore our confidence in our European growth opportunity. It’s important to note that we ended the month with great momentum across the board, which bodes well for the rest of the fall as well as the 2012 holiday selling season, which we believe will be terrific for TJX!”

In other discounter results:

Ross Stores reported a 5% increase in same-store sales. Sales increased 10% to $800 million for the five weeks ended September 29, 2012, up from $726 million in sales for the five weeks ended October 1, 2011.

Michael Balmuth, vice chairman and CEO, commented: "We are pleased with same store sales gains in September that continued to outperform our expectations. The primary driver of our favorable business trends year-to-date remains our ongoing focus on delivering fresh and exciting assortments of name brand bargains that continue to resonate with today’s value-focused consumers."

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Walmart to lose monthly insight into Target’s performance

BY CSA STAFF

Target this week joined the ranks of retailers who will no longer provide monthly sales and in the process denied Walmart merchants insight into the performance of a chief rival.

Target made the announcement in conjunction with the release of September sales results that saw comps increase 2.1%. The decision, which takes effect in 2013, wasn’t particularly surprising as the ranks of retailers, especially major ones, who report monthly numbers has been steadily shrinking now for several years. Walmart cut the cord several years ago and others have followed suit since, most notably J.C. Penney as it sought to avoid the glare of monthly scrutiny while attempting to execute a transformation strategy.

Aside from Costco, company’s who still report monthly are basically department store retailers such as Kohl’s, Macy’s, Dillard’s and Nordstrom and mall-based specialty apparel chains.

When all is said and done, Walmart and other industry players won’t really be losing any special insight as a result of Target’s decision because the company wasn’t saying much to begin with. For example, Target chairman, president and CEO Gregg Steinhafel offered this pearl of wisdom when September results were released: "We’re pleased with our sales results through the first two months of the quarter and believe we remain on-track to attain our third-quarter sales and profit goals."

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