New York - Back-to-school shopping helped offset weak TV demand to boost August sales for national discount chains Target, Costco and BJ's Wholesale Club.
Target said net retail sales rose 5.4 percent last month to $5.3 billion and comparable-store sales increased 4.1 percent, reflecting "solid results in our back-to-school and back-to-college categories," noted chairman, president and CEO Gregg Steinhafel.
Nevertheless, he described the pace of the economic recovery as "uneven and uncertain."
At Costco, net sales increased 17 percent to $6.9 billion, including revenue from the wholesale club's joint venture in Mexico. Comp-store sales rose 6 percent in the U.S., excluding the positive impact of higher gasoline prices.
Costco said CE experienced mid to high single-digit comp declines on weakness in computers, audio and TVs, with the latter down in both units and dollars. Conversely, cameras rebounded with a "nice uptick" relative to last year, a spokesperson said.
Separately, Costco announced that its CEO and co-founder Jim Sinegal will step down Jan. 1, 2012. He will be succeeded by president and chief operating officer Craig Jelinek, who joined the company 28 years ago as a warehouse manager and has since held every major merchandising and operations role, the retailer said. Sinegal will remain with Costco through January 2013 as a director and advisor.
Meanwhile BJ's, which is being acquired by the Leonard Green & Partners investment group, said August sales rose 14.9 percent to $901.6 million and same-store sales increased 7.9 percent excluding gasoline. Electronics was cited among the month's strongest performers year-over-year, although TVs and pre-recorded video were among the weakest categories.