Costco comps up 6% at U.S. clubs
ISSAQUAH, Wash. — The nation’s leading warehouse club operator maintained its momentum in November by posting a 6% increase in same-store sales at U.S. clubs, excluding the beneficial effect of higher year-over-year gas prices.
If the favorable effect of fuel prices, which averaged $3.44 this year, compared with $2.85 last year, are included, then the U.S. comp figure rose 9%. International comps also rose 9%, but were negatively affected during the month by a somewhat stronger U.S. dollar. International comps, excluding the impact of currency fluctuations increased 11%.
Total company sales for the four-week period ended Nov. 27 increased 11% to $7.5 billion from nearly $6.8 billion last year. Sales for the 13-week period, which closely aligns with the company’s first-quarter period ended Nov. 20, increased 12% to $23.1 billion, compared with nearly $20.6 billion in the year-ago period. First-quarter financial results are scheduled for release next week on Dec. 8.
As for Costco’s November performance, the company noted that Texas, California and the Midwest were its strongest performing regions and also highlighted an interested development in the consumer electronics category.
Other categories highlighted include food and sundries and softlines where the company said it experienced a high single digit comp increase.
Costco ended the period with a total of 596 clubs globally, including 433 in the United States and Puerto Rico, 82 in Canada, 32 in Mexico, 22 in the United Kingdom, nine in Japan, eight in Taiwan, seven in Korea and three in Australia. Before year end, Costco said it will open two additional units in Japan.
@WalmartLabs’ Shopycat seeks to bridge gap between social media, shopping
SAN BRUNO, Calif. — Walmart is looking to help holiday shoppers find the perfect gift this season with the launch of a new social shopping application.
Shopycat, developed by @WalmartLabs, is a social platform that’s available on Facebook and is designed to offer gift ideas for friends based on their social media activity (i.e., a post, a "like," or a profile update). Those who use the app not only can find and buy gifts for friends — which can be purchased via Walmart stores, Walmart.com and other such sites as RedEnvelope, Barnes & Noble and ThinkGeek — as well as help users purchase items based on friends’ general interests, it also provides recommendations to users’ friends for what they want as holiday gifts (via a "My Info" tab).
"As human beings, we are inherently social and shopping is one of the most social activities we engage in," Walmart SVP global e-commerce and @WalmartLabs co-founder Venky Harinarayan said. "Our vision is to delight consumers and Shopycat is a first step in that direction with social and shopping coming together on the scale of Walmart. At Walmart, we see social commerce fueling the next generation of e-commerce where online and retail stores bring a continuous shopping experience to millions of users. We plan to continue experimenting with products as we build new social apps over the coming year."
Study: Elevated glucose levels may be linked to colorectal cancer
BRONX, N.Y. — A new study conducted by researchers at Yeshiva University’s Albert Einstein College of Medicine found that high blood-sugar levels may be associated with an increased risk of colorectal cancer.
Researchers examined the fasting blood sugar and insulin levels of nearly 5,000 postmenopausal women — all of whom were enrolled in the National Institutes of Health’s landmark Women’s Health Initiative study — several times over a 12-year period.
By the end of the 12-year period, 81 of the women had developed colorectal cancer. The researchers found that elevated baseline glucose levels were associated with increased colorectal cancer risk, with women that were part of the highest third of baseline glucose levels were nearly twice as likely to have developed colorectal cancer, compared with women categorized in the lowest third of blood-glucose levels. Results were similar when the scientists looked at repeated glucose measurements over time, the researchers said. No association was found, however, between insulin levels and risk for colorectal cancer.
"The next challenge is to find the mechanism by which chronically elevated blood glucose levels may lead to colorectal cancer," said Geoffrey Kabat, a senior epidemiologist at Einstein and lead author of the paper. "It’s possible that elevated glucose levels are linked to increased blood levels of growth factors and inflammatory factors that spur the growth of intestinal polyps, some of which later develop into cancer."
The findings appeared online in the Nov. 29 edition of the British Journal of Cancer.