These gains were partially offset by a decline in comparable store sales, a 3.3% due to the increased softness in consumer discretionary spending, the increase cut effect of competitive store openings and more aggressive competitive pricing and promotional activity in certain markets. All of which have had affected our customer traffic.
As anticipated, sales were also negatively impacted by the timing of the July 4 holiday, which fell on Wednesday this year versus falling on the Monday following the end of the second quarter in 2011.
Consequently, certain holiday related sales moved from the second quarter to the third quarter. We estimate that this negatively affected comp store sales by about 40 to 50 basis points, which was roughly in line with our expectations.
For the quarter, we experienced a 3.2% decrease in the number of customer transactions and an average transaction size was roughly equal to last year.In the majority of our markets, our customer have been very cautious with their budgets. We think the current economic recovery is somewhat bifurcated based on customer income levels. Customers who feel good about their economic situation are spending more freely and in our stores where we have more higher income customers, we’re seeing good results. However, for the vast majority of our customers, the economy was heavily undermined and has affected their spending patterns more negatively than we expected. The overwriting fact and (inaudible) is the top economy and the budget challenged customer, there is also strong competition for the customers dollar. The majority of competitive activity was driven by supercenter or discount operator opening. Minneapolis and Milwaukee continue to be most competitive markets. In Milwaukee, we’re feeling the effect of several Wal-Mart market stores and to a lesser extent Target PFresh conversions that have occurred over the last 12 months. Read the rest of this transcript for free on seekingalpha.com