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Retail Chains Report Solid August Sales

Consumers, undeterred by high temperatures and higher gas prices, flocked to national discount chains last month, boosting August revenues.

At Wal-Mart, net sales rose 9.9 percent year-over-year to $15 billion at its U.S. flagship stores last month while comparable store sales edged up 2.6 percent.

Wal-Mart’s Sam’s Club division saw August net sales rise 9 percent to $3 billion and comps climb 6.6 percent.

For Target, total sales increased 12.2 percent to $3.9 billion and comp-store sales gained 6.3 percent in August.

Costco reported a 12 percent hike in total August sales (both foreign and domestic) to $4.1 billion while U.S. comp sales spiked 9 percent on strength in major appliance volume, offsetting weaker sales within the photo and media categories.

Net sales for BJ’s rose 12 percent in August to $598 million, and comps climbed 5.6 percent on strength in room air, TVs, and other CE products. Weaker categories included computer hardware, film, batteries, and gaming hardware and software.

Separately, novelty CE chain Sharper Image said total sales declined 15 percent to $36.6 million, and same-store sales fell 14 percent last month. “Although this continues to be a challenging year for the company,” said founder and chairman/CEO Richard Thalheimer, “we are hopeful that the introduction of new merchandise assortments” — including a new series of ZipConnect sound systems — “will contribute to improving trends towards the end of this year.”