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Home makes its mark on chain sales in June 

New York - Soft home was among the highlights for many key retailers in June, when nearly all of the companies on HTT's list reported comp gains.

Only two - The Bon-Ton Stores and Stein Mart - posted declines, both of them slight: down 0.9% and 1.5%, respectively.

Yet, home was among Bon-Ton's best performing categories in June.

Regional discounter Duckwall-Alco lead the 13-retailer pack with the only double-digit comp gain for the month, up 10.6%. The increase also represented its fifth consecutive month of positive comparable-store sales.

Costco Wholesale Corp. had the second highest comp increase in the group, up 8.0%.

Kohl's home business, in particular bedding and bath, was a big contributor to its 7.5% comp increase and the strongest business for the month.

Macy's generated a 6.7% comp increase in June, exceeding the department store chain's expectations. Chairman, president and ceo Terry Lundgren said this growth "came from across the company - Macy's and Bloomingdale's stores and online sites.

Dillard's posted a 6.0% increase, but said its home and furniture businesses were significantly below trend for the five-week period.

Off-price competitors Ross Stores and TJX Cos. each produced 5.0% comp gains - exceeding expectations for both companies.

Home was not among the top performers at Ross, but at TJX, Marmaxx's comps were up 6%, including a 4% boost in home fashions. Home Goods reported a 3% comp increase.

Target's 4.5% June comp was at the high end of its expected range. Although the overall home category suffered low-single-digit decreases, sheets, table top, and storage-and-organization each enjoyed sales growth above company average.

Outdoor living home-related businesses, as well as furniture and housewares, which posted "strong results" in June, contributed to JCPenney's 2.0% overall comp gain for the month.

The Johnson Redbook Retail Index put June comps up 6.9%. Of the 28 companies tracked by the service - which includes apparel specialty stores and drugstores as well as general merchandise retailers - 86% posted positive comps, six of them double-digit gains.


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