Retail Updates: Costco Wholesale Corporation (COST)’s Growth, Best Buy Co., Inc. (BBY)’s Credit Card Program, J.C. Penney Company, Inc. (JCP)’s New Lawsuit

Editor’s Note: Costco Wholesale Corporation (NASDAQ:COST), Best Buy Co., Inc. (NYSE:BBY), J.C. Penney Company, Inc. (NYSE:JCP), Sears Holdings Corporation (NASDAQ:SHLD), Capital One Financial Corp. (NYSE:COF), Citigroup Inc. (NYSE:C)

Why This Huge Discount Store Keeps Growing (DailyFinance)
The past 5 years have been very challenging for retailers. Most of them had to pay the consequences of missing the e-commerce revolution. Some of them, like giant Wal-Mart, are trying to catch up as fast as possible, but revenue growth is still not happening. A clear exception is Costco Wholesale Corporation (NASDAQ:COST), which recently reported growth of 7% in net sales for July. Costco’s growth figures are hard to believe in an industry that gets surprised when Wal-Mart manages to keep comparable-store sales growth in the 2% range. But what is driving Costco’s revenue growth? When will it stop? And does Costco Wholesale Corporation (NASDAQ:COST) represent an interesting investment opportunity given the current stock price?

Costco Wholesale Corporation (NASDAQ:COST)

Citi takes over Best Buy’s credit card program (The Business Journals)
Citi Retail Services has completed the acquisition of Best Buy Co., Inc. (NYSE:BBY)’s U.S. credit card portfolio from Capital One Financial Corp. (NYSE:COF). Financial terms of the deal weren’t disclosed, but Citi said the portfolio currently totals more than $6 billion in receivables. Citi Retail Services, a unit of New York-based Citigroup Inc. (NYSE:C), said the addition of the portfolio strengthens its position as a leading provider of private label and co-branded card products to U.S. retailers and their customers. The business services accounts for a number of brands, including ExxonMobil, Macy’s, Sears, Shell and The Home Depot.

Bodum Group sues J.C. Penney over ‘shops-in-store’ deal (Dallas Business Journal)
Bodum Group, a maker of upscale coffee presses, has filed suit againt J.C. Penney Company, Inc. (NYSE:JCP) for breach of contract over the Plano-based retailer’s now-halted plans to create shops within stores. Bodum alleges that Penney did not fulfill its promise to roll out modern, chic shops in its stores that would showcase Bodum’s products, Reuters reported. The shops-in-a-store concept was created by former J.C. Penney Company, Inc. (NYSE:JCP) CEO Ron Johnson as a centerpiece of his strategy to re-invent the retailer. Johnson’s strategy failed, leading to a $985 million loss in 2012 and Johnson’s ouster as CEO in April.

Sears rallies on report valuing real estate at $7.3B (New York Post)
Sears Holdings Corporation (NASDAQ:SHLD) may not be worth much as a business — but its real estate is a different story. Shares of Sears Holdings have surged 20 percent over the past two days as a report circulating on Wall Street argues that the retailer’s real estate has been undervalued. Baker Street Capital, a Los Angeles investment firm that is among Sears’s biggest stockholders, said in a research note that at least $7.3 billion of value lies in the company’s top 350 owned stores and its top 50 leased locations.

Best Buy Issues Statement Following Sale of Shares by CEO Hubert Joly (Benzinga)
On September 10, 2013, Hubert Joly, the President and Chief Executive Officer of Best Buy Co., Inc. (NYSE:BBY), Inc. exercised and sold 350,467 stock options and sold 100,686 shares in the registrant on the open market on September 6, 2013, due to circumstances relating to his marital dissolution. As reflected in the Form 4, Mr. Joly’s holdings remain substantially in excess of his 140,000 share ownership target under the Company’s Executive Stock Ownership Guidelines following the reported transaction.

Can JCPenney Use Back-to-School To Reclaim Its Safety Zone? (MediaPost Communications)
As retailers fire up their back-to-school engines, heading toward that all-important fourth quarter, we can expect to hear more chatter about J.C. Penney Company, Inc. (NYSE:JCP). After all, it’s about to face its most important test since it booted CEO Ron Johnson last spring. What’s critical to the turnaround though isn’t how well the struggling retailer has rewritten its mission. I think it’s about how people will feel when they walk through Penney’s doors.