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Middle Market Up, Wal-Mart Off, in June Comps

With consumers sucker-punched by the double whammy of rising gas prices and higher credit-card bills as interest rates climb, America's big retailers took it on the chin during June, with same-store sales softening, especially for those, like Wal-Mart, that cater to the needs of low-income consumers.

Underlining the magnitude of the June weakness, the Johnson Redbook Index said same-store sales for the 70 major retailers it tracks rose a lackluster 2.8% during June, far beneath the 4.7% gain recorded in May and the hefty 6.7% increase rung up in April.

While its same-store sales didn't actually decline, perhaps the month's biggest loser was still Wal-Mart, where sales limped ahead just 1.1% in its core U.S. stores, only a fraction of the 4.9% gain recorded a year ago.

Flying past its larger rival, Target posted a 5.2% increase, almost five times the size of the increase at Wal-Mart.

Easily the month's biggest winner was Kohl's, with comps shooting up by 7.1%, still gaining traction as it reconfigures its operations after stalling out in 2004. But even that couldn't compare with last June's 14.4% gain.

Among the other winners was Bon-Ton, pushing same-store sales up by 6.6% as it assembles a department-store fiefdom through a string of buyouts.

Rebounding after earlier weakness, fashion and crafts retailer Hancock Fabrics drove comps up 6.2%, while rival Jo-Ann slid 10.4%, weakening from last year's dip of 0.2%.

Department-store business was mixed, with mid-market JCPenney up 4.3%, but Federated up just 1.7%, Gottschalks flat at 0.3% and Dillard's off by 1.0%. A substantially smaller Saks department-store group was up by 4.7% following the sale of some units to Bon-Ton.

The big warehouse clubs as a group fell short during the month. Best-of-class Costco comps were up by 6.0%, but that was shy of the 10.0% gain recorded last June. And even then the number was propped up by international results: Costco same-store sales in U.S. doors rose only 4.0%. At Sam's, same-store sales were up 1.3%, far from the 3.8% of a year ago. BJ's was off by 0.1%, compared with a 4.3% increase a year ago.

June same-store sales for key retailers
Four weeks ended July 1a, (dollar amounts in millions)

2006 sales 2005 sales total %chg. same-store %chg.
a. Reporting periods vary from store to store.
b. Includes results of acquired nameplates, including Berner's, Boston Store, Carson Pirie Scott, Elder-Beerman, Herberger's and Younkers.
c. Includes results of May Department Stores.
d. Lower sales reflect the sale of some department store nameplates.
e. For the 44 weeks to date of Costco's fiscal year.
f. For the four months year-to-date of Pier 1's fiscal year.
BJ's Wholesale Club $825.0 $796.1 3.6 (0.1)
The Bon-Ton Stores b $304.2 $112.2 171.1 6.6
Costco $5,740.0 $5,220.0 10.0 6.0
Dillard Dept. Stores $623.6 $630.3 (1.1) (1.1)
Dollar General $876.7 $808.4 8.5 2.5
Family Dollar $620.5 $566.9 9.5 3.6
Federated c $2,367.0 $1,436.0 64.8 1.7
Fred's $159.9 $148.0 8.0 2.6
Gottschalks $61.0 $60.8 0.5 0.3
Hancock Fabrics $33.0 $31.4 5.1 6.2
JCPenney $1,615.0 $1,536.0 5.1 N.A
Dept. stores $1,386.0 $1,320.0 5.0 4.3
Catalog/e-commerce $229.0 $216.0 6.0 N.A
Jo-Ann Stores $140.5 $151.8 (7.4) (10.4)
Kohl's Corp. $1,315.7 $1,142.8 15.1 7.1
Pier 1 Imports $143.3 $169.9 (15.7) (18.4)
Ross Stores $494.0 $440.0 12.3 5.0
Saks Inc. d $306.8 $546.1 (43.8) 4.7
Saks Fifth Avenue Stores $243.0 $239.1 1.6 5.3
Dept. Storesd $63.8 $307.0 (79.2) 2.0
Stein Mart $133.9 $131.7 1.7 0.9
Target Corp. $5,093.0 $4,575.0 11.3 4.8
TJX Cos. $1,600.0 $1,400.0 9.0 4.0
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. $33,120.0 $29,993.0 10.4 1.2
Wal-Mart Stores $21,470.0 $20,230.0 6.1 1.1
Sam's Club $4,054.0 $3,898.0 4.0 1.3
22 weeks ytd same-store sales for key retailers
BJ's Wholesale Club $3,360.6 3,168.3 6.1 1.9
The Bon-Ton Stores $1,098.3 463.7 136.9 (0.8)
Costco e $48,750.0 $43,760.0 11.4 8.0
Dillard Dept. Stores $2,997.9 $2,953.4 1.5 1.5
Dollar General $3,700.0 $3,400.0 8.0 1.7
Family Dollar $5,437.2 N.A 9.6 3.4
Federated c $10,321.0 $6,266.0 64.7 2.1
Fred's $704.3 $647.9 8.7 2.4
Gottschalks $253.5 $252.2 0.5 0.2
Hancock Fabrics $153.9 $155.1 (0.8) (0.6)
JCPenney $7,218.0 $6,914.0 4.4 N.A
JCPenney stores $6,108.0 $5,846.0 4.5 3.8
Catalog/e-commerce $1,110.0 $1,068.0 3.9 N.A
Jo-Ann Stores $675.0 $687.1 (1.8) (5.9)
Kohl's Corp. $5,503.4 $4,784.7 15.0 6.2
Pier 1 Imports f $519.4 $560.2 (7.3) (10.2)
Ross Stores $2,202.0 $1,934.0 13.9 6.0
Saks Inc. d $1,569.4 $2,505.2 (37.4) (0.3)
Saks Fifth Avenue Stores $1,084.1 $1,117.1 (3.0) (0.1)
Dept. storesd $485.3 $1,388.1 (65.0) (0.7)
Stein Mart $618.3 $630.2 (1.9) (2.7)
Target Corp. $21,515.0 N.A 11.8 5.2
TJX Cos. $6,700.0 $6,200.0 8.0 2.0
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. $140,929.0 $126,060.0 11.8 2.7
Wal-Mart stores $91,839.0 $84,573.0 8.6 2.6
Sam's Clubs $17,278.0 $16,291.0 6.1 3.5


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