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Retailers Post Drab Oct. Comp Sales

New York – While poor comp store sales dominated the retail landscape for most chains in October, some did post overall sales gains.

Wal-Mart Stores reported $16.6 billion in sales for the month, a 7.7 percent gain over last year’s October numbers, while comp store sales were just about flat at 0.3 percent. Comp store sales for last year were up 4.3 percent, due in part to the sales for remodeling and home improvement due to the heavy hurricane season. In the company’s Sam’s Club operation, sales were up 1.2 percent to $3.11 billion, but its comp sales were up 2 percent versus the same month last year.

Target’s performance during October was more upbeat with a 9.7 sales gain to $4.05 billion and comp sales up 3.9 percent compared to last October when comp sales were up 5.7 percent.

Costco Wholesale reported an 8 percent increase to $4.59 billion in October, but U.S. comp sales were up only 2 percent.

BJ’s Wholesale Club posted a 2.5 percent sales gain during the month to $602.6 million in October, but comp sales decreased 0.7 percent including a negative impact from gasoline sales of 2.5 percent. Excluding the impact of gasoline sales, comp sales for October were up 1.7 percent.

The only specialty retail reporting was Sharper Image, which had sales of $103.3 million, down 14 percent versus last year. Comp store sales were down 31 percent while total catalog sales/direct marketing sales, including wholesale, were $14 million, up 2 percent. Internet sales were $5.7 million, a decrease of 12 percent.