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Warehouse clubs deliver big comps in May

BY Gail Hoffer

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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Rite Aid’s same-store sales show improvement

BY Alaric DeArment

CAMP HILL, Pa. — Same-store sales at Rite Aid increased by 1.3% in May, compared with the year-ago period, the retail pharmacy chain said Thursday.

Reporting sales for the five-week period that ended May 28, Rite Aid said front-end same-store sales increased 1.8%, while same-store sales in the pharmacy increased by 1%, including a 129-basis-point offset due to introductions of new generic drugs. Prescription count increased 0.1%.

Total drug store sales during the period were nearly $2.5 billion, a 1% increase over $2.45 billion in May 2010.

Same-store sales for the 13-week quarter that ended May 28 increased by 0.8%, compared with the same period last year, including flat same-store sales at the front end and a 1.1% increase in pharmacy same-store sales.

Total drug store sales for the quarter were flat, with sales of $6.7 billion, compared with $6.4 billion last year. As of May 28, the company had 4,704 stores, compared with 4,767 stores at the same time a year ago.

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Food Lion Charitable Foundation, Western Union Foundation donate funds to Feeding America food banks

BY Allison Cerra

CHICAGO — Food Lion’s charitable arm once again has teamed up with the Western Union Foundation to support Feeding America.

The Food Lion Charitable Foundation and the Western Union Foundation donated $220,000 to 11 Feeding America food banks. The funds were presented to the respective food banks at the Food Lion corporate offices in Salisbury, N.C., on Wednesday.

The Feeding America food banks grant recipients include:

  • Blue Ridge Area Food Bank in Verona, Va.;

  • Capital Area Food Bank in Washington, D.C.;

  • Inter-Faith Food Shuttle in Raleigh, N.C.;

  • Mountaineer Food Bank in Gassaway, W. Va.;

  • Second Harvest Food Bank of East Tennessee in Knoxville, Tenn.;

  • MANNA Food Bank in Asheville, N.C.;

  • Greater Berks Food Bank in Reading, Pa.;

  • Second Harvest Food Bank Southeast North Carolina in Fayetteville, N.C.;

  • Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina in Charlotte, N.C.;

  • FeedMore (aka Central Virginia Food Bank) in Richmond, Va.; and

  • Feeding America – Kentucky’s Heartland in Elizabethtown, Ky.

"Food Lion is a proud supporter of Feeding America," Food Lion president Cathy Green Burns said. "Our company is dedicated to supporting hunger relief and nutrition education programs in the communities we serve. We strongly believe that no child should ever go hungry, and we hope this contribution will help these food banks to continue to make a difference in the fight to end child hunger."

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