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May CE Sales Slump At Discount Chains

6/07/2010 12:01:00 AM Eastern

NEW YORK — Target, Costco and
BJs reported declines in consumer electronics
sales in May.

At Target, net sales rose 3.7 percent
to $4.6 billion last month while compstore
sales edged up a more modest 1.3
percent, blunted by weak performance
in CE. The comps fell “somewhat below
our expectations,” said chairman/
CEO Gregg Steinhafel, who forecast
continued “volatility in the pace of economic
recovery.”

Separately, Target said it began carrying
Kindle at all stores nationwide
June 6 due to “overwhelmingly positive”
customer response to a limited test this
spring. Target is the first brick-andmortar
retailer to carry Amazon.com’s
e-book reader, which it will sell at Amazon’s
online price of $259.

Within the warehouse club channel,
Costco reported an 11 percent spike in
net sales, to $6 billion, and a 5 percent
increase in U.S. comps excluding gasoline.
However, CE comps fell into negative
territory due to softer TV and computer
sales, which it attributed in part to
fewer coupon promotions. TV revenue
declined less than unit volume due to the
addition of LED TVs, which carry higher
average selling prices, Costco said.

At BJ’s, net sales similarly rose 11.3
percent, to $872 million, and comps increased
by 3.5 percent excluding gasoline.
The chain reported strength in room air
conditioners but also experienced weakness
in computers and TVs.

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