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Retailers Report Strong CE/Majap Sales During May

6/07/2004 02:00:00 AM Eastern

Retailers selling CE and majaps enjoyed solid sales in May, with most mass merchants reporting double-digit gains for the month.

Among specialty CE chains, Best Buy said first quarter revenue for the three months, ended May 29, rose 16 percent for its United States-based flagship and Magnolia Audio Video stores to $4.98 billion, while comparable store sales rose 8.4 percent.

The company attributed the gains to increased in-store and online traffic; the "excellent execution" of store-level employees; and strong sales of DTVs, DVD movies, music CDs, digital cameras, notebooks and MP3 players.

Major appliances also continued to rebound, with comp store gains in the high single digits, thanks to differentiated front-load laundry lines, the start of the room air season and the introduction of next-day delivery service.(Circuit City was scheduled to release its first quarter sales after this issue went to press. See www.twice.com for the company's revenue results.)

On the regional level, New York metro area A/V specialist Harvey Electronics said demand for custom installation services helped hike fiscal second quarter sales 4.9 percent to $10.3 million from $9.9 million in the year-ago period. Comp-store sales for the second three months, ended May 1, increased 5.6 percent.

The retailer also announced the 10-year lease extension and modification agreement for its flagship midtown Manhattan store. The location continues to represent over 20 percent of the company's revenue.

Among full-line mass merchants, Sears said total sales in May fell 4.7 percent to $2.1 billion while comps slipped 3.7 percent. CE sales were down by the mid-single digits last month, and majap comps declined by the low-single digits. CEO Alan Lacy attributed the declines to "slackening consumer demand" and the calendar shift of Memorial Day to the June sales month from May in 2003.

Meanwhile, Wal-Mart's flagship stores saw May sales rise 11.7 percent to $14.4 billion as comps rose 4.7 percent, and Target's flagship stores enjoyed a 12.7 percent hike in May sales to $3.1 billion as comps grew 5.8 percent.

Among warehouse clubs, Costco's May sales rose 19 percent to $3.8 billion, and comps grew 16 percent; Sam's Club's May sales rose 12.9 percent to $2.9 billion, and comps grew 11.8 percent; and BJ's said May sales rose 16.5 percent to $576.4 million while comps grew 12.1 percent, led by strength in room air and pre-recorded video.

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