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Specialty Chains Are Leaders In June Sales Tally

While June sales were mixed for mass merchants, retail specialists ranging from wholesale clubs to RadioShack enjoyed double-digit gains. As Sharper Image founder Richard Thalheimer said of his company’s 33 percent comp-store hike, “It is gratifying to see our business so strong at a time when it is widely reported that the threat of higher interest rates is dampening consumer spending.”

RadioShack said sales sailed 14 percent to $331.3 million last month for both its company-owned and franchised stores, while comparable sales at company-owned stores were up 13 percent for the period. Year-to-date, total sales were up 14 percent to $2 billion and same-store sales were ahead 10 percent.

Chairman Len Roberts said last month’s double-digit comp-store gains were “driven by all categories of our business, including wireless, computers, audio/video, personal electronics, and parts and accessories.”

Heilig-Meyers reported a 1.4 percent decline in June sales to $124.5 million, while comparable-store sales were down 2.1 percent. The figures exclude sales from three recently divested divisions and 18 Chicago-market stores. Sales for the four-month period were up a marginal 0.4 percent, while comp-store sales declined 0.6 percent for the period.

Sears said revenue rose 3.6 percent last month to $2.8 billion, while same-store sales inched up 2.3 percent. Leading the charge were sales of appliances and electronics, which retiring Chairman Arthur Martinez said “remained strong.” He also projected second-quarter earnings gains of 20-25 percent on a per-share basis, exceeding Wall Street expectations.

Among the discount chains, Wal-Mart said combined sales at its Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club stores rose 20.9 percent to $18 billion last month and grew 22.9 percent during the 22-week period to $76.6 billion. Of that, Wal-Mart’s full-line stores contributed $15.4 billion to the June coffers and $65.8 billion to the 22-week total, with comp-store gains of 4.7 percent in June and 6.6 percent year to date.

Kmart reported a 0.8 percent gain in June sales to $3.6 billion and a 1 percent decline in monthly same-store sales. For the 22-month period, net edged up 1.4 percent to $14.6 billion, while comp-store revenue slipped 0.1 percent. Commented recently named chairman/CEO Chuck Conaway, “June sales were disappointing.”

Target enjoyed an 8.9 percent hike in June sales to $2.5 billion and a gain of 2.1 percent in same-store sales, while year-to-date revenue was up 10.4 percent to $10.5 billion, as comp-store sales grew 3.7 percent.

Regional discounter Ames saw June sales rise 1.3 percent to $346.5 million while comp-store sales dropped 5.2 percent. For the 22-week period, sales increased 0.9 percent to $1.5 billion as same-store revenue dropped 0.6 percent. Chairman Joseph Ettore listed home entertainment among “strong categories” that helped rally sales during the last two weeks of June.

Among wholesale clubs, BJ’s June sales rose 13.6 percent to $469 million and comp-store sales gained 4.1 percent, while year-to-date sales grew 17.3 percent to $1.8 billion and same-store sales increased 5.9 percent for the period. President/CEO Jack Nugent partly attributed last month’s sales hikes to “continued strong demand for computers.”

Costco’s net for the five weeks ended July 2 was up 13 percent to $3.1 billion, with comp-store sales ahead 9 percent. For the first 44 weeks of its 2000 fiscal year ended July 2, sales grew 15 percent to $26.1 billion and same-store revenue rose 12 percent.

Sales at Wal-Mart’s Sam’s Club rose 7.1 percent last month to $2.6 billion, while year-to-date sales grew 7.5 percent to $10.8 billion. Comp-store revenue increased 5 percent and 5.5 percent, respectively, for five-week and 22-week periods.

Electronics novelty chain Sharper Image said total sales rose 34 percent in June to $27.9 million. Of that, store sales increased 34 percent to $19.3 million while comp-store sales rocketed 33 percent.