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Discount results a mixed bag as Target, Costco fall short and TJX outperforms

New York City -- Discounters reported mixed results for December sales, with many, including Target Corp. and Costco Wholesale Corp., posting gains that fell below analysts’ expectations.

Target Corp. said its same-store sales edged up 0.9%, well short of analyst expectations for a  4% increase. The chain said weaknesses in electronics, toys and some home categories offset strength in grocery and apparel items.

“December sales were below expectations, as strength in grocery and apparel was offset by softness in electronics, toys and some home categories,” said Gregg Steinhafel, chairman, president and CEO of Target Corp. “Sales in some key gift-giving categories moved earlier into the holiday season, and lower margin items drove a higher portion of sales than expected.”

Based on Target’s quarter-to-date sales results and January outlook, the company said it continues to expect fourth quarter same-store sales will increase in the range of 2% to 4%.

Costco Wholesale Corp.'s same-store sales climbed 6% in December, but missed the 6.2% gain that Thomson Reuters predicted.

The TJX Cos. had a better showing in December, with a same-store sales gain of 2%. Wall Street expected a drop of 2.5%. Total sales rose 6% to $3 billion.

"I am extremely pleased with December's sales results, as we significantly exceeded our plans during this important period," TJX CEO Carol Meyrowitz, CEO, TJX.

In other December same-store sales results:

  • Ross Stores same-store sales climbed 4%;
  • SteinMart same-store sales dipped 1.9%, and total sales dropped 2.3% to $166.3 million;
  • Fred’s same-store edged up 0.2%; and
  • At Duckwall-Alco Stores, sales rose 1.1%.
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