By Michelle Graff
michelle.graff@nationaljeweler.com
New York--Comp sales were up for Target Corp., Walmart Stores Inc. and TJX Companies Inc., albeit by small amounts, in the third quarter.

Traffic growth and positive customer experience helped to stimulate sales for the companies in the three-month periods ended Oct. 31.

Target Corp. was among the major chain stores that reported modest gains in the third quarter.Highlights from the third quarter results recently reported by the three chains are below.

Target Corp.
Third quarter comps grew 2 percent for Target in the three-month period ended Oct. 31, driven by traffic growth and online sales, which increased by 20 percent.

Same-store sales in signature categories--style, baby, kids and wellness--grew more than three times faster than the company average, leading the company’s sales growth.

The third quarter also marked Target’s fourth consecutive quarter of traffic growth, which the company said was “encouraging, especially in the face of stiffer prior-year comparisons.”

Overall sales in the quarter were up 2 percent, increasing from $17.25 billion in the year-earlier period to $17.61 billion, reflecting both a rise in comp sales as well as sales from new stores.

The Minneapolis-based company operates 1,805 stores, up just slightly from the 1,801 it had as of Nov. 1, 2014.

Walmart Stores Inc.
Same-store sales at Walmart were up for the fifth consecutive quarter, increasing nearly 2 percent in the most recent three-month period as customer experience scores continued to strengthen, Walmart said.

Operating income in the U.S. was down 9 percent to $4.5 billion, while net sales grew 4 percent to $72.7 billion.

At Sam’s Club, comps excluding fuel rose less than 1 percent, and net sales without fuel were up 2 percent to $14.1 billion. Operating income (excluding fuel) increased 4 percent during the quarter.

Total revenue for the company was $117.4 billion, or $122.4 billion on a constant currency basis.

Operating income for the overall Walmart Stores, Inc. was down 9 percent. The company noted that although positive comps show the business is taking the right steps to win with customers, it is “positioning for sustainable growth through investments in people and technology to deliver a seamless shopping experience at scale.”

TJX Companies Inc.
U.S. same-store sales rose 3 percent year-over-year in the third quarter ended Oct. 31 for T.J. Maxx and Marshalls stores, parent company TJX Companies Inc. reported.

U.S. net sales for the two chain stores were up 5 percent during the period, from $4.67 billion to $4.92 billion.

Globally, overall comps increased 5 percent while net sales also rose 5 percent to $7.75 billion. Net income for the company was down 1 percent, from $594.9 million in the year-earlier period to $587.3 million.

“We are delighted that strong customer traffic drove our entire consolidated comp and was the primary driver of our comp increases at every division,” said TJX chairman and CEO Carol Meyrowitz. “Our excellent traffic gains and strong performance across our apparel, accessories and home categories demonstrate that our brands globally are offering the right values and merchandise mix.”

During the third quarter, TJX increased its store locations in the U.S. to 2,679--1,149 T.J. Maxx locations, 1,001 Marshalls stores, 522 HomeGoods stores and seven of its Sierra Trading Post locations.

Th company also acquired Trade Secret, an Australian off-price retailer with 35 stores on the continent, in October.





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