Chains Report Mixed CE Sales In August

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New York - Sales were generally flat for national discounters in August, representing an improvement over preceding months, although CE performance was mixed for full-line chains.

The short list of CE-selling retailers still reporting monthly results included Target, whose net sales were flat at $4.9 billion while same-store sales slipped 2.9 percent due to lower average transaction size.

CE was among the chain's strongest performers last month, while the entertainment category, which includes music and movies, was among the weakest.

Target CEO Gregg Steinhafel said August sales exceeded expectations, thanks in part to flat year-over-year traffic, which marked a "meaningful improvement from second-quarter trends."

Net sales were also flat at Costco, which brought in $5.4 billion last month. Same-store sales fell 4 percent due to the negative impact of lower gas prices, and excluding fuel were flat.

Comp-store sales ran slightly negative for Costco's combined CE and major appliance business, due largely to continued price deflation in TVs. Indeed, while unit sales of TVs rose 20 percent year over year, dollar volume fell as a result of "much lower" average selling prices, the company said.

Costco did, however, enjoy comp-store sales gains in cameras, computers and room air.

At BJ's Wholesale Club, net sales slipped 2 percent in August to $757.6 million, while same-store sales declined 6 percent with fuel and fell 2.2 percent without.

BJ's said comp sales were also negatively affected by this year's late Labor Day weekend and the elimination by Massachusetts of an annual tax-free weekend during the reporting period.

Categories with the strongest sales last month included room air and computer hardware, while TVs, DVD software and other CE categories were among the weakest performers, the company said.


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