Feds: Good March For CE, Majaps
By Alan Wolf On Apr 19 2010 - 3:01am
WASHINGTON — Retail sales of
consumer electronics and major appliances
in March rose 3.5 percent year over
year to $8.8 billion, the U.S. Commerce
The figures, which were adjusted for
calendar shifts and are weighted toward
Best Buy’s results, also showed a 1.3 percent
decline from February.
Total retail industry sales (excluding
car dealerships, gas stations and restaurants)
increased 0.9 percent seasonally
adjusted over February and 5.7 percent
unadjusted year over year.
However discount chains reported weak
CE sales, but an early Easter and warm
weather helped offset that weakness to deliver
strong March sales to discount chains.
Among those reporting results, Target
said net retail sales for the five weeks,
ended April 3, increased 12.5 percent to
$6.2 million and same-store sales rose
10.3 percent, compared with a 6.3 percent
decline last year.
“March comparable-store sales exceeded
our expectations,” said Target chairman,
president and CEO Gregg Steinhafel,
although CE had the weakest
comps in hardlines due to brisk sales of
DTV converter boxes in 2009.
Among the warehouse clubs, Costco
said net sales rose 12 percent last month
to $7.1 billion while U.S. comp sales increased
2 percent, excluding the positive
impact of gasoline sales.
, CE and majaps were Costco’s
weakest-performing hardlines category,
posting low single-digit declines. The
chain attributed the downturn to weakness
in TV, where both unit and dollar
volume fell 20 percent last month.
At BJ’s Wholesale Club
, net sales
soared 15.7 percent to $1 billion and
comps climbed 7.3 percent, excluding the
positive impact of fuel sales. The company
included TV and video games among
its monthly laggards, but said overall traffic was up 7 percent excluding gas.
Looking at the broader picture, the
nation’s chain stores together posted “a
healthy, albeit inflated, increase” of 9 percent
last month, noted Michael Niemira,
chief economist and research director for
the International Council of Shopping