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Discounters Post Solid February Sales

3/02/2006 10:16:00 AM Eastern

New York — Despite last month’s spate of winter storms, national full-line mass merchants posted solid sales in February.

Among the national discount chains, Wal-Mart saw total sales rise 10 percent last month to $16.7 billion at its namesake stores while comparable store sales rose 2.9 percent. Sales of food and consumables continued to outpace general merchandise, said CFO Tom Schoewe.

At Target, total February sales increased 10.5 percent to $3.7 billion and same store sales rose 3.6 percent, which was in line with company expectations, said chairman/CEO Bob Ulrich. The company cited consumer electronics as one of the best performing categories last month, and noted that larger than average baskets were offset by a slight decline in store traffic.

Among the wholesale clubs, Costco said global sales grew 11 percent in February to $4.2 billion while comparable store sales increased 7 percent in the United States. Net sales at Wal-Mart’s Sam’s Club unit rose 7.6 percent to $3 billion last month while comp store sales rose 4.6 percent. At BJ’s, net sales grew 5.9 percent in February to $567.8 million and comps increased 1.6 percent.

Separately, proprietary novelty CE seller Sharper Image said total February sales fell 33 percent to $30.5 million and comp store sales declined 31 percent. The company said it anticipates further sales declines as it cuts advertising, inventory levels and other expenses, and accelerates new product testing and development.

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