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CE Sales Sank In April: Discounters

New York – Discount
chains reported weak CE sales in April as consumers directed their spending on Easter.

Target said Easter-related
purchases sent April sales soaring 13.7 percent to $4.9 billion and drove comparable
store sales up 13.1 percent. Movies were among the month’s best sales
performers and CE was among the softest, the chain said.

Despite the same-store
sales gains, chairman, president and CEO Gregg Steinhafel said comps came in
somewhat below expectations due to cautious consumer spending, as customers “face
increasing pressure on their household budgets due to higher energy costs and
increasing prices of food, apparel and home merchandise.”

At Costco, net sales
increased 17 percent to $6.8 billion and U.S. comp sales excluding gasoline
rose 6 percent. CE comps were down by the low double digits, the company
reported, and despite a slight uptick in TV unit volume, flat-panel revenue
declined due to ongoing price deflation.

At BJ’s Wholesale Club,
April sales rose 12.2 percent to $871.7 million and comps excluding gasoline
increased 4.1 percent. CE was among the month’s strongest performers, the
company said, and TV and pre-recorded video were among the weakest. The average
transaction amount increased by about 1 percent excluding fuel, and traffic
edged up by about 3 percent.