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Slow CE Sales Dogged Discounters In October

New York – CE proved to be the weak link in otherwise stable
October sales, discount chains reported.

At Target, revenue edged up 2.2 percent to $4.6 billion and
same-store sales rose 1.7 percent for the four weeks ended Oct. 31. “October
sales were near the low end of our expectations,” acknowledged
chairman/president/CEO Gregg Steinhafel, although business improved in the
back-half of the month and sales of non-discretionary items — with the
exception of pre-recorded music and movies — continue to outpace other categories.

“While the environment remains uncertain, we’re entering the
fourth quarter with exciting holiday marketing and compelling merchandise,” he
said — including the Nov. 7 rollout of the iPhone and a 5 percent discount on
all purchases made with Target’s private label credit card or debit cards.

Within the wholesale club channel, Costco said net sales rose 11
percent to $6.3 billion for the four weeks ending Oct. 31, while U.S. same-store
sales rose 3 percent excluding the favorable impact of higher gasoline prices.

Comp-store sales of CE slid by the low single digits, due largely
to a mid-teens percentage drop in TV unit volume year over year, and a slight
decline in pricing. The downturn was partially offset by comp increases in
majaps, navigation and wireless, the company said.

TV also faltered at BJ’s Wholesale Club, where net sales
increased 6.3 percent to $812.7 million last month and same-store sales rose
2.2 percent excluding gasoline. The chain achieved the sales gains without the
help of TVs and prerecorded video, which were among its weakest performers
compared to the year-ago period, BJ’s said.