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Tickers in this Article: COST, GPS, FRED, SMRT
Costco Wholesale Corporation (COST) delivered comparable-store sales (comps) growth of 6% in June, following an increase of 5% in May, and reflecting comparable sales growth of 6% at both the U.S. and international locations.

Buoyed by strong sales, shares of Costco recorded a new 52-week high of $115.94 yesterday, before closing at $115.89.

Costco’s comparable-store sales for the 44-week period ended Jul 7, 2013rose 6%, buoyed by an equivalent increase at both the U.S. and international locations.

Excluding the effect of gasoline prices and foreign currency fluctuations, Costco’s comparable-store sales for June rose 6%, reflecting comparable sales growth of 6% at its U.S. locations and 8% at international outlets. For the 44-week period, the company witnessed comparable-store sales growth of 6%, with U.S. and international sales rising by a similar rate.

Total net sales for June rose 8% to $9.92 billion from $9.16 billion in the year-ago period. Costco’s sales for the 44-week period increased 8% to $87.05 billion from $80.46 billion in the year-ago period.

We believe that Costco’s differentiated product range enables it to provide an upscale shopping experience to its members, resulting in market share gains and higher sales per square foot. Moreover, it continues to maintain a healthy membership renewal rate.

This Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) stock remains committed to opening new clubs in domestic and international markets. The company’s diversification strategy is a natural hedge against risks that may arise in specific markets.

Besides Costco, other retail chains also posted healthy sales data for the month of June as improving job market, lower gas prices, warmer weather and clearance discounts boosted consumer sentiment.

Leading the pack is the clothing chain, The Gap, Inc. (GPS), which witnessed a 7% rise in comps, while net sales jumped 8% to $1.53 billion. Off-price retailer of apparels, footwear and accessories, Stein Mart Inc. (SMRT) was another strong performer of the month. The company registered a 6.5% rise in June comps, while total sales increased 2.6% to $109 million.

Discount store operator, Fred's, Inc. (FRED), marked a significant improvement as the company witnessed a 4.5% rise in comps, substantially up from the 4% decrease witnessed in Jun 2012. Net sales for June increased 3% to $187.7 million.

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