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CE Drives Solid November Chain-Store Sales

New York – National discount chains posted positive November
sales thanks partly to strong CE sell-through.

A key exception was Costco, which cited lower comp-store sales
across core CE categories.

What’s more, BJ’s Wholesale Club said sales rose highest during
the second week of November, supporting reports of flat brick-and-mortar sales
on Black Friday.

Among those reporting monthly tallies, Target said net sales for
the four weeks, ended Nov. 28, rose 5.7 percent to $6 billion while comp-store
sales increased 5.5 percent. Chairman/CEO Gregg Steinhafel attributed the
better-than-expected results to “very strong” traffic throughout the month and “compelling
holiday merchandising and marketing programs,” including a new 5 percent
cash-back credit card offer.

Target said CE and toys posted the strongest comp-sale gains
within the hardlines category, while music and movies were among the weakest.

The discount chain is projecting a low- to mid-single-digit
comp-sale increase in December.

Within the warehouse club channel, Costco said net sales,
including sales from its joint venture in Mexico, rose 12 percent to $6.8
billion for the four weeks, ended Nov. 28, while U.S. same-store sales excluding
gasoline increased 6 percent. Net sales excluding Mexico operations rose 9

Comp-store sales for CE fell by the low double-digit range, with
TVs, audio, computers and cameras all posting lower same-store sales. Costco
said TV comps declined by the mid- to high-single digit range despite a
low-single-digit increase in unit sales.

Average transaction amounts were up 3 percent and traffic
increased 5.5 percent company-wide compared with last year.

At BJ’s Wholesale Club, net sales for the four weeks, ended Nov.
27, rose 8 percent to $900.1 million and comp sales increased 3.8 percent
excluding gasoline. Sales increased each week of the month, but they rose the
highest during the second week of November.

BJ’s cited CE and video games among its strongest monthly performers
but reported weaker comps for computer equipment and prerecorded video.