October Sales Up at Costco, BJ's, Family Dollar

ISSAQUAH, Wash; NATICK, Mass.; and MATHEWS, S.C. - Costco Wholesale Corp., BJ's Wholesale Club, Inc. and Family Dollar Stores, Inc, yesterday issued their October sales results, and the news from all three companies was positive.

Retail analyst Richard Hastings of Bernard Sands, LLC, however, noted that overall comparable-store growth was weaker than expected for wholesale club and dollar store channels, among other formats. He attributed the shortfall against expectations partly to growing financial pressures on the lower-income households that are the bread and butter of the retailers.

Costco reported net sales of $3.79 billion for the four weeks ended Oct. 31, a rise of 11 percent from $3.42 billion in the same four-week period last week. For the first nine weeks of its 2005 fiscal year ended Oct. 31, the warehouse club store operator posted net sales of $8.32 billion, an increase of 11 percent from $7.49 billion during the comparable period of the prior fiscal year. Reported net sales were lowered by the implementation of Emerging Issues Task Force Issue No. 03-10 (EITF 03-10), "Application of Issue No. 02-16 by Resellers to Sales Incentives Offered to Consumers by Manufacturers," which took effect at the start of Costco's 2004 third quarter, Feb. 16.

BJ's said that sales for the month rose 8.7 percent to $547.8 million from $504.0 million last year. On a comparable-club basis, sales increased by 4.9 percent for the month of October, including a contribution from gas sales of about 0.6 percent. Last year the warehouse club store retailer reported comp sales growth of 10.2 percent for October, which included a 3.0 percent contribution from sales of gasoline. For the third quarter ended Oct. 30, total sales grew 9.9 percent and comps rose 6.1 percent, including a 0.4 percent contribution from gas sales. Year to date, total sales increased 11.5 percent and comparable-club sales grew 7.1 percent, including a contribution of 1.1 percent from gas sales.

Family Dollar, a discount store chain operating 5,502 stores in 44 states, posted sales for the month of about $411.7 million, or 8.8 percent higher than sales of $378.4 million for the similar period last year. Sales in existing stores during the period climbed about 0.9 percent above existing-store sales for the year-ago period. For the nine-week period ended Oct. 30, sales were approximately $922.3 million, or 9.5 percent above sales of $842.1 million for the similar period last year. Same-store sales grew about 1.2 percent above sales for the year-ago period.
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