Warehouse clubs deliver big comps in May

Costco, BJ's see boost

ISSAQUAH, Wash. and WESTBOROUGH, Mass. — Costco Wholesale and BJ’s Wholesale reported strong sales growth and produced impressive comps even without the benefit of fuel sales.

Costco reported that net sales for the month of May increased 17% to $7.14 billion from $6.09 billion last year. This year’s May results period included sales from the company's Mexico joint venture. If these sales are excluded, Costco’s net sales increase would have been 14%.

Costco’s total same-store sales, including the beneficial impact of gas prices and foreign currencies, were up 13% (11% at its U.S. operations and 21% internationally). Excluding the benefit of fuel, total company same-store sales rose 7%, U.S. same-store sales rose 6% and international sales rose 12%.

BJ’s reported that net sales for May increased by 10.7% to $953 million from $861 million in May 2010. According to the company, departments with the strongest sales increases compared to last year included beauty care, coffee, computers, cookies, dairy, deli, electronics, frozen, meat, milk, paper, prepared foods, produce, salty snacks and small appliances. Departments with weaker sales compared to last year included apparel, diapers, juices, plants and shrubs, plates and utensils, pre-recorded video and televisions.

BJ’s same-store sales were up 7.4% for the month, which included a contribution from gasoline sales of 4.4%. Excluding the impact of gasoline, merchandise comparable-club sales increased by approximately 3%.

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