Discount sector posts strong January showing

New York -- There were few missteps among the discounters in January, as most posted strong results, many surpassing Wall Street expectations.

Target reported a same-store sales rise of 3.1%, topping Wall Street expectations. Total sales surged 29.6% to $5.97 billion in January.

“January comparable-store sales were in line with our expectations as guests responded to clearance prices on holiday inventory," said Gregg Steinhafel, president and CEO, Target Corp. "Our guests continue to shop with discipline in the face of a slow economic recovery and new pressures, including recent payroll tax increases. As a result, we remain focused on providing unbeatable value combined with a superior guest experience in both our stores and digital channels.”

Warehouse club operator Costco posted a 4% same-store sales rise in January and a 7% total sales gain to $9.35 billion.

TJX Cos. also showed its muscle in January, reporting a 3% rise in same-store sales and upping its fourth-quarter and full-year guidance.

Among the other discounters that reported January comps:

  • Ross Dress for Less rose 4%;
  • SteinMart increased 4.6%;
  • Fred’s increased a hefty 28.6%; and
  • Alco posted a 21.4% rise with fuel, but dipped 1% without.