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Costco posts strong September amid return to online growth

Costco currently operates 853 warehouses around the world.
Costco currently operates 861 warehouses.

Costco Wholesale Corp. reported strong top-line growth in September, buoyed by rising comparable sales across all its divisions.

The report came on the heels of a strong fourth-quarter that included a 9.5% increase in net revenue. On the company’s earnings call, CFO Richard Galanti said Costco plans to open 10 new stores in the next three months, with nine in the U.S. and one in Canada.

The membership warehouse club retailer had net sales of $22.75 billion for September (the five weeks ended Oct. 1, 2023), an increase of 6% from $21.46 billion last year.   

Total company same-store sales increased 4.5%, with a 3.2% increase in the United States. Same-store sales in Canada rose 6.7%. Other international comps rose 10%. E-commerce comparable sales in September rose 3.7% after falling 2.5% in August.

Adjusted for changes in gasoline prices and foreign exchange, total company same-store sales 3.7% with U.S. comps up 2.7%. Adjusted same-store sales in Canada rose 8%, with other international comps rose 4.9%.

Worldwide, Costco’s average transaction in September fell about 0.3%, which includes positive impacts from gas inflation and FX,  Josh Dahmen, assistant VP of finance and investor relations at Costco, said in a phone report regarding the September results.

The top performing U.S. regions in September were the Southeast, Texas and Northeast, according to Dahmen, with the strongest international comp-sales results in Spain, Mexico and the U.K..

Food, sundries and cooler were the strongest departments. Home furnishings, sporting goods and hardware among the weakest areas.

Costco currently operates 861 warehouses, including 591 in the United States and Puerto Rico, 107 in Canada, 40 in Mexico, 33 in Japan, 29 in the United Kingdom, 18 in Korea, 15 in Australia, 14 in Taiwan, five in China, four in Spain, two in France, and one each in Iceland, New Zealand and Sweden. Costco also operates e-commerce sites in the U.S., Canada, the U.K., Mexico, Korea, Taiwan, Japan and Australia.

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