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Retailers Report Single-Digit Comp-Store Sales Increases

Publicly held national retailers posted single-digit comp-store sales gains during July.

Wal-Mart had a comp sales gain of 2.3 percent for the month vs. last July when the gain was 4.5 percent. Its Sam’s Club operation in the United States had a comp sales gain of 3.1 percent, compared with last year when July’s sales were up 4.4 percent. Overall sales for Wal-Mart Stores during July rose 8.4 percent to $16.5 billion, and for Sam’s Club it was $3.1 billion, an increase of 5 percent.

In July the retailer reported it opened 32 locations, which included 25 supercenters, of which 12 were relocations or expansions of existing units; three Sam’s Clubs, which were relocations or expansions of existing clubs; three Wal-Mart Neighborhood Markets and one Wal-Mart discount store.

Target reported its July comp-store sales were up 3.1 percent. Overall, July sales were up 9.6 percent to $3.94 billion and chairman/CEO Bob Ulrich said that while sales growth was slower during the month it was within its sales plan.

Costco reported net sales of $4.48 billion for the month, a gain of 11 percent over last July, while comp-store sales were up 4 percent in the United States.

BJ’s Wholesale Club benefited from higher fuel costs with a 1.1 percent comp store sales boost from gasoline which was included in its 1.9 percent comp-sales increase for July. In overall sales BJ’s reported a 5.4 percent gain for July, up to $613.3 million. Comp-store sales were up in all major regions with upstate New York and metro New York leading the way. The lowest increase was in the Southeast.

Specialty retailer Sharper Image‘s July sales were down across the board, off 17 percent to $34.8 million vs. last year. Total stores sales were $21.8 million, a decrease of 21 percent, and comp-store sales during the month were down 23 percent. Internet sales were down 17 percent to $4.5 million, and total catalog/direct marketing sales were off 4 percent to $8.5 million.