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Mixed Dec. Sales For Mass Retailers

Las Vegas — Top mass retailers reported mixed December sales Thursday morning, with Wal-Mart seeing a slight increase in comp-store sales for the month.

Eduardo Castro-Wright, vice chairman of Wal-Mart Stores, reported that electronics sales for the month were “solid.”

Wal-Mart reported a U.S. sales gain of 4.3 percent to $30.9 billion during December, with comp-store sales up 1.9 percent. Its Sam’s Club operation had 2.1 percent lower sales during the month vs. last year, to $4.8 billion.

U.S. comp sales for Wal-Mart for the month rose 1.9 percent, with Sam’s Club slipping 0.1 percent. Combined U.S. sales for both operations were up 1.7 percent during the month.

Still, Tom Schoewe, executive VP and chief financial officer, warned that comp-store sales for January should be between flat and 2 percent, and lowered guidance on its fourth-quarter earnings, to be reported on Feb. 17.

Costco did not cite CE sales performance in its December review but reported that overall sales were down to $7.4 billion from the previous year’s $7.55 billion.

U.S. comp-store sales were down 2 percent compared with last year’s December and international comp-store sales were down 11 percent for the month. Overall comp-store sales for the warehouse club were down 2 percent corporately.

Target reported a slight sales increase, up 2 percent for December to $9.28 billion in December. No mention of CE was made but comp-store sales were down 4.1 percent which was “in line with our planned range,” according to Gregg Steinhafel, president/CEO of Target.

BJ’s Wholesale reported a 3.2 percent gain in sales during December to $1.06 billion compared with the previous year, with comp-store sales up 1.6 percent, excluding gasoline sales.

BJ’s did cite TVs, video games and prerecorded video among the categories with the best sales gains in the month.