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Retailers Report Solid October Sales

11/04/2004 10:25:00 AM Eastern

New York — Sales at national full-line chains continued their upward momentum in October, which, retail analysts say, suggests continued strength through the holiday selling season.

Ultimate Electronics, the sole CE specialty chain reporting, said its fiscal third-quarter sales dipped 1.7 percent to $157 million for the three months ended Oct. 31, while comparable store sales fell approximately 8 percent.

However, while traffic and “execution issues” contributed to a weak start to the quarter, president/CEO Dave Workman said that comp sale declines significantly improved in September and October as previously implemented initiatives began to gain traction.

“We look forward to continued improvement as we gear up for a successful holiday selling season,” he said.

Meanwhile, Sears stemmed a string of monthly sales declines by posting a 0.1 percent gain in total revenue last month, to $1.9 billion, while same store sales rose 1.9 percent on strength in white and brown goods.

“We were particularly pleased with our home appliance business, which showed strong sales growth due to customer response to innovative new products,” said CEO Alan Lacy. “We were also pleased to see a sales increase in the home electronics business following our reset of the department, which was just completed in September.”

Among other mass merchants reporting:

Total October sales at Wal-Mart’s flagship discount stores increased 9.4 percent to $13.9 billion, and comp sales gained 2.4 percent.

Target’s total October sales grew 12.6 percent to $3.3 billion, and comp sales rose 6 percent.

Costco’s total October sales increased 11 percent to $3.8 billion while comps grew 8 percent on strength in computers, A/V and white goods, among other categories.

Total October sales for BJ’s Wholesale Club rose 8.7 percent to $547.8 million, and comps grew 4.9 percent despite weakness in majaps, film and batteries.

Finally, proprietary CE seller Sharper Image said total sales grew 22 percent last month to $60.3 million, while comp store sales increased 1 percent; catalog sales increased 32 percent; and online sales grew 21 percent.