Costco comparable sales up 12.3% in March
Costco Wholesale Corp. benefited from a big increase in online demand in March as its sales rose amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The warehouse club retailer’s net sales rose 11.7% to $15.49 billion for the retail month of March (the five weeks ended April 5, 2020) from $13.87 billion last year in the year-ago period. For the 31 weeks ended April 5, 2020, Costco reported net sales of $96.25 billion, up 9% from $88.29 billion during the similar period last year.
Costco’s comparable sales rose 12.3% in March after gas sales and foreign exchange fluctuations were factored out. Comparable sales rose 12.1% in the U.S., 7.2% in Canada and 19.2% in other international markets. E-commerce sales surged 49.8% in March (with a 22.4% increase for the entire 31-week period.)
“Costco is among the strongest retail brands and there is no better example of the company’s unique position than the flood of visitors in the early stages of the coronavirus,” Ethan Chernofsky, VP of marketing of retail intelligence company Placer.ai, stated in a report that was released before Costco reported its March results. “Even though the heights of the coronavirus buying will likely not be hit again, the company is uniquely positioned to thrive in the coming months. Costco has performed exceptionally well during normal periods, and the pandemic has shown that they can still drive strong results — especially compared with other retailers — during difficult times as well.”