Costco, BJs and Target beat expectations

New York City -- BJ’s Wholesale Club, Costco and Target all beat Wall Street expectations in August, helped by consumers seeking out emergency supplies and clean-up items as they prepared for and then dealt with Hurricane Irene.

BJ's Wholesale Club’s same-store sales jumped 11.5% in August, beating analysts' predictions for a 7.8% increase. The retailer said that gasoline sales contributed about 3.6 percentage points to the increase, and hurricane-related sales contributed another 2.5 to 3 percentage points.

At Costco, same-store sales rose 11%, which exceeded analysts' expectations for 9.3%.

Target Corp.'s same-store climbed 4.1% in August. In a prerecorded call, the retailer said that the monthly results were helped by an increase in average transaction size and got a boost of one-half of a percentage point as shoppers in the East headed to its stores to prepare for Tropical Storm Irene.

“August comparable-store sales were in line with our expectations, reflecting solid results in our back-to-school and back-to-college categories,” said Target chairman, president and CEO Gregg Steinhafel. “While the pace of the economic recovery is uneven and uncertain, we are confident in our ability to execute on our strategy, to offer the right balance of extraordinary value, convenience, newness and differentiation and to remain our guests’ preferred shopping destination.”

Target said August same-store sales in grocery increased in the mid to upper teens; health care, beauty and household essentials increased in the mid single-digit range.

Another area of increase was apparel, which was up slightly. The company said same-store sales in hardline categories declined in the low single-digit range, and home categories declined slightly.

In other discount same-store results for August:

  • The TJX Cos. said its sales increased 1%, missing expectations. The company said Hurricane Irene hurt business in key markets throughout much of the fourth week, causing it to come in towards the low end of our expected range.
  • Ross Stores reported a 4% gain.
  • Fred's said its sales rose 1.6%, which fell short of analysts’ estimates.
  • Duckwall-Alco Stores reported its sales, excluding fuel increased 2.2%.