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September CE Sales Diverge For Discounters

10/06/2011 11:20:57 AM Eastern

New York - September CE sales were a tale of two cities for
Target and Costco, although both discounters reported solid revenue growth for
the month.

Separately, the National Retail Foundation (NRF) projected a
slim 2.8 percent increase in holiday sales, but said retailers will make the
most of it through steep promotions and lean inventory.

Target said net retail sales rose 6.5 percent to $5.9
billion for the five weeks ended Oct. 1. Comparable store sales increased 5.3
percent despite declines in CE, which dragged the hardlines segment down by the
low single digits, the chain reported.

Costco said net sales for the five weeks ended Oct. 2
increased 15 percent to $8.6 billion, while U.S. same-store sales rose 7
percent excluding the positive impact of higher gasoline prices. CFO Richard
Galanti said CE comps rose by the mid-single digits on unit and dollar volume
gains in TV, reversing last quarter's mid-single digit decline.

Elsewhere, the NRF projected a 2.8 percent increase in
total 2011 holiday retail sales, to $465.6 billion. The increase is far lower
than the 5.2-percent gain retailers enjoyed last year, but is slightly higher
than the ten-year average holiday sales increase of 2.6 percent, the trade
group said.

"While businesses remain concerned over the viability of the
economic recovery, there is no doubt that the retail industry is in a better
position this year to handle consumer uncertainty than it was in 2008 and 2009,"
said NRF president/CEO Matthew Shay. "Retailers are optimistic that a
combination of strong promotions and lean inventory levels will help them
address consumer caution this holiday season."

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