Costco Q2 beats Street; ‘beyond busy’ amid increased demand due to coronavirus

Marianne Wilson
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costco customer at checkout

Costco Wholesale Corp. reported stronger earnings and sales than analysts had expected as shoppers stock up on goods in light of the coronavirus outbreak.

“February sales benefited from an uptick in consumer demand in the fourth week of the reporting period,” the company stated. “We attribute this to concerns over the Coronavirus and estimate the positive impact on total and comparable sales to be approximately 3%.”

On its quarterly earnings call with analysts, Costco CEO Richard Galanti said that “these last nine or so days has been beyond busy.” In addition to stocking up on things such as water, sanitizers and other household goods, consumers also have been buying bigger big-ticket items, he added.

Costco earned $931 million, or $2.10 a share, for the quarter ended Feb.16, compared with $889 million, or $2.01 a share, in the year-ago period. Analysts had expected earnings of $2.05 a share. 

 Sales rose 10.5% to $38.3 billion, beating estimates of $38.22 million. Same-store sales rose 8.9% or 7.9% excluding the impact of gasoline prices and currency fluctuations. E-commerce comp sales rose 28.4%.

Costco currently operates 785 warehouses, including 546 in the United States and Puerto Rico, 100 in Canada, 39 in Mexico, 29 in the United Kingdom, 26 in Japan, 16 in Korea, 13 in Taiwan, 11 in Australia, two in Spain, and one each in Iceland, France, and China. Costco also operates e-commerce sites in the U.S., Canada, the United Kingdom, Mexico, Korea, Taiwan, Japan, and Australia.