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July Sales Rose For Discounters

Demand for room air conditioners soared in step with temperatures last month, fueling sales for mass merchant discounters.

Wal-Mart said net sales for the four weeks, ended July 29, rose 10.9 percent at its namesake stores to $15.3 billion while comparable store sales grew 4.2 percent year-over-year. The company reported that both average ticket and traffic were positive for the month, with average ticket making up the majority of the comp increase.

At Target, total July sales increased 11.9 percent to $3.6 billion and same-store sales gained 5.5 percent.

Costco, the nation’s largest wholesale club, said companywide sales grew 8 percent in July to $4 billion while comps at U.S. stores edged up 4 percent on strength in major appliances. The company said the loss of one reporting day due to a July 4th holiday calendar shift reduced comps by 3 percent to 4 percent.

Similarly, Wal-Mart’s Sam’s Club reported an 8.3-percent sales gain last month to $2.9 billion and a 5.1 percent hike in comp sales.

BJ’s, the No. 3 wholesale club, said July sales rose 9.3 percent to $582.3 million and comps grew 4.7 percent thanks to high double-digit gains in room air plus strong sales of CE, particularly TVs. The gains were offset, however, by lower comp sales of computer equipment, film, and video game hardware and software.

Elsewhere, novelty CE seller Sharper Image said total company sales slipped 3 percent to $42 million, and comp store sales declined 2 percent in July, attributable to lower sales per transaction as a result of special sale pricing.