Clubs Post June Sales Gains

ISSAQUAH, Wash. — Costco Wholesale Corp. [2] here said Thursday that comparable-store sales for the five-week period that ended July 3 were up 12% in the U.S., compared to a year ago, as rival Bj's Wholesale Club [3] also posted double-digit sales gains for the month of June.

Costco said the sales gains reflected a 2% to 3% bump from an extra day in 2011. The company said its average transaction in the period rose 7.25%, and traffic frequency was up 6.25%.

Food and sundries comparable sales were up "in the low double-digit range," Costco said. Within food and sundries, Costco cited particular areas of strength in cooler, deli, foods, and candy. Inflation in food and sundries was up in mid-single digits year over year.

Separately, Westborough, Mass.-based BJ's reported that sales for the five weeks that ended July 2 increased by 10.3% to $1.18 billion. Comparable-store sales for June 2011 increased by 7.3%, including a contribution from sales of gasoline of 3.8%. Excluding gas, comps were up 3.5%.

Sales of food at BJ's increased by approximately 5%, driven primarily by fresh food. Sales of general merchandise increased by approximately 1%.