CE Sales Sank In April: Discounters

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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.


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