Inside This Issue - News
Retail sales increase moderately in October
November 18th, 2013
NEW YORK – Cooler weather helped lift sales for some apparel retailers in October, despite the government shutdown at the start of the month that hurt consumer confidence. Other chains reported sales gains for consumables and prescription medications.
Costco Wholesale Corp. reported a 3% increase in same-store sales for the four-week period ended November 3, when the negative impact of foreign exchange rates and falling gasoline prices are factored in. Excluding those impacts, Costco’s same-store sales gain for the month would be 6%.
Fred’s Inc. reported a 2% increase in total sales and a 0.8% increase in same-store sales for the month.
"Sales for October were at the lower end of our guidance, as general merchandise sales were sluggish and consumable driven," said chief executive officer Bruce Efird. "Poor weather around Halloween hurt sales, and consumers tightened spending during the recent budget crisis, with the combination affecting sales and gross margins in the back half of the month. On the positive side, we experienced strong pharmacy sales and a solid performance from our reconfigured departments, especially Hometown Auto & Hardware."
Rite Aid Corp. reported that same-store sales increased 2.1%, driven by gains in the pharmacy. Front-end same-store sales slipped 0.6%, while pharmacy same-store sales increased 3.4%, despite the negative impact (amounting to about 85 basis points) of generic drug introductions. Prescription counts at comparable stores increased 1.1% over the prior-year period.
Walgreen Co. reported that its sales in comparable stores increased by 5.8% in October. Comparable front-end sales increased 2.3%, while same-store pharmacy sales increased by 7.9%. Prescriptions filled at comparable stores increased by 5.7%. That number was positively impacted by 1.1 percentage points due to more flu shots compared with last year, and negatively impacted by 0.2 percentage points by a lower incidence of the flu this year.
J.C. Penney Co. reported a 0.9% same-store sales gain, its first increase since December 2011.