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Warehouse clubs stung by lower gas prices in July


New York City Falling gasoline prices crimped sales at warehouse clubs in July, with same-store sales falling more than expected at both Costco Wholesale Corp. and BJ's Wholesale Club.

Costco Wholesale Corp. said Thursday that its same-store sales dropped 7% in July, slightly more than analysts had expected, pressured by lower gas prices and the stronger dollar.

Costco posted an 8% drop in its U.S. same-store sales, while international same-store sales were off 5%.

Excluding lower gas prices, U.S. same-store sales dipped 2%. International same-store sales rose 6%, taking out the impact of the stronger dollar.

Costco said in a recorded message that some of its strongest categories included food and fresh-food products, including deli, candy and frozen-food items. It reported weakness in non-food, discretionary categories. The company said it had a slight improvement in non-food categories such as office, sporting goods, small appliances and men's and women's apparel.

Total sales for the period ended Aug. 2 slipped 5% to $5.41 billion.

BJ's Wholesale Club said its same-store sales fell 9.1% in July as gas prices slid. Excluding gasoline, comparable-club merchandise sales rose 1.8%.

Total sales for the period ended Aug. 1 dropped 6.3% to $722.5 million.  

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