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Chains Post Weak Nov. Same-Store Sales

New York – National discount chains reported
tepid same-store sales in November despite strong demand for consumer
electronics and the surge in Black Friday business.

Target

said strength
in CE and online purchases, plus brisk Black Friday sales, contributed to a 1.5
percent increase in total retail revenue last month, to $5.7 billion, although
same-store sales slipped 1.5 percent.

“Sales were
slightly below our expectations for November, as softer results in the first
three weeks of the month were substantially offset by better-than-expected
sales during our post-Thanksgiving two-day sale,” said Target chairman,
president and CEO Gregg Steinhafel.

Business was
stronger on Black Friday than Saturday, he said, with comp sales rising by the
high single digits the day after Thanksgiving, compared with a combined
mid-single-digit increase for both days. He added that inventories remain “well-controlled,
giving us confidence in our ability to perform well during the holiday season
in what continues to be a challenging economic environment.”

Among the
wholesale clubs,

Costco

said net sales rose 9 percent to $6 billion and
same-store sales at U.S.
stores were flat, excluding the positive impact of higher gasoline prices
relative to last year.

Comp sales for
Costco’s combined CE and appliance business were up by the low- to mid-single
digits despite continued price deflation, the company said. Specifically, TV
unit volume rose more than 15 percent last month, but dollar volume trailed
with a mid-single digit increase. Costco also reported positive comp sales for
computers, audio and major appliances.

Traffic was up 3.5
percent year over year, and average transaction size rose 2.5 percent including
fuel sales.

At

BJ’s Wholesale
Club

, net sales rose 6.4 percent to $833.6 million, and same-store sales edged
up 1 percent, with no impact from fuel sales. Computers were among departments with
the strongest comps, while weaker categories included TVs and video games, BJs
said.

Traffic increased
about 3 percent year over year, excluding fuel sales, while the average
transaction amount decreased by about 3 percent due to continued price
deflation in TVs and other “high-velocity” categories such as food.

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