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Costco reports surge in monthly sales

BY Allison Cerra

ISSAQUAH, Wash. — Sales for the month of March increased 10% for Costco to $9.13 billion, the wholesaler reported Thursday.

For the five weeks ended Apr. 1, comparable-store sales for the month were 6%; U.S. comps were 6% and international comps were 7%. Excluding inflation of gasoline prices and foreign currencies comparable sales for these periods were 6%, including 5% for the United States and 9% for international.

Costco currently operates 601 warehouses, including 434 in the United States and Puerto Rico, 82 in Canada, 32 in Mexico, 22 in the United Kingdom, 13 in Japan, eight in Taiwan, seven in Korea and three in Australia. The company plans to open up to an additional eight new warehouses prior to the end of its fiscal year on Sept. 2.

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Kimberly-Clark joins AAFES on ‘spring cleaning’ sweepstakes for military shoppers

BY Michael Johnsen

DALLAS — The Army and Air Force Exchange Service and Kimberly-Clark are teaming up to give away 10 $1,000 gift cards in the "Spruce Up Your Space" sweepstakes.
 
“With spring cleaning in full swing, an extra $1,000 can go a long way to getting the house in order for the summer,” said the Exchange’s senior enlisted advisor Chief Master Sgt. Jeffry Helm. “Shoppers just need to visit their Exchange during the contest and simply fill out an entry form for a shot at the shopping spree.”
 
From April 6 to 12, Exchanges everywhere, including facilities in Europe and the Pacific, will have entry forms available for the "Spruce Up Your Space" sweepstakes. Winners will be selected on or about May 21, the military retailer noted.

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Fred’s CEO: March dollar sales up but comps flat; pharmacy performing well

BY Michael Johnsen

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Fred’s on Thursday reported total sales of $194 million for the five weeks ended March 31, up 3% from the year-ago period. Comparable-store sales for the month were flat versus an increase of 0.7% in the same period last year.

"As one would expect with warming weather, customers focused on seasonal product areas, and our Core 5 departments of pet, household supplies, and pharmacy continued to do well," Fred’s CEO Bruce Efird said. "Sales in our newer stores and pharmacies continued to perform ahead of our expectations in March. [And] our real estate team remains confident in its ability to hit our accelerated pace for new store openings this year."

Fred’s total sales for the first two months of fiscal 2012 increased 3% to $352.9 million. On a comparable-store basis, year-to-date sales decreased 0.4% versus a 0.7% increase for the year-earlier period.

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