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Costco tops Street in October


New York City Budget-conscious shoppers continued to favor bargain and bulk sellers over most other merchants in October. The shopping patterns favored such retailers as Costco Wholesale Corp., whose same-store sales rose 5%, beating analysts' average estimate of a 4.7% increase. The company was helped by a decline in the U.S. dollar that lifted international sales by 17%. In the United States, sales rose 2%.

Dollar Tree, a strong performer during the downturn, reported an increase of 6.5%. Leading categories in the third quarter included health and beauty-care basics, household consumables and party supplies.

Ross Stores, which has also prospered during the recession, reported a same-store sales jump of 9%. For the thirteen weeks ended Oct. 31, sales were up 12% to $1.744 billion, a 12%, while same-store sales rose 8%.

At TJX Cos., same-store sales rose 10% in October on strong demand at T.J. Maxx and Marshalls stores. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected an increase of 10.1%

TJX said sales at its T.J. Maxx and Marshalls stores rose a combined 12% driven by strong customer traffic, which is said bodes well for the upcoming holiday season. So far this year, TJX same-store sales are up 5%.

Target Corp.’s same-store sales edged down 0.1% in October, as consumers bought necessities such as healthcare products, but shied away from higher-ticket items such as electronics and sporting goods. Analysts had expected same-store sales be flat compared with a year ago, when sales fell 4.8%.

Total sales for the four weeks ended Oct. 31 rose 3% to $4.54 billion.

Target said apparel sales were slightly stronger than a year ago, with sales of shoes, jewelry and accessories offsetting weaker newborn and infant and women's apparel.

Categories such as food, health care, household products, baby care and beauty products were strong sellers. Electronics, home and sporting goods sales were weaker.

In other discount same-store sales results:

  • BJ's Wholesale Club said its sales fell 1.1% in October, citing a decline in gasoline sales. The drop was larger than the 0.3% expected by analysts, according to a survey by Thomson Reuters. Total sales for the month rose 3.5% to $764.7 million.
  • Big Lots’ sales fell 0.2%, but the decline was not as large as Wall Street expected. The company said sales trends improved after the Labor Day holiday in early September.
  • At Fred's, sales edged up 0.4% in October, missing analyst expectations.

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