Costco Wholesale Corporation COST, one of the widely recognized names in the Retail – Discount Stores industry, has been providing its members with quality goods and services. The company, which is among the biggest winners amid the pandemic, sells products at discounted prices to draw customers, who have been seeking both value and convenience. The business model helps compete with e-commerce players such as Amazon AMZN.
The company’s growth strategies, better price management, decent membership trends and increasing penetration of the e-commerce business have been contributing to its upbeat performance. Cumulatively, these factors have been aiding the Issaquah, WA-based company in registering impressive sales numbers.
We also note that shares of this Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) company have appreciated 41.3% in the past six months compared with the industry’s growth of 19.1%. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.
Impressive Sales Numbers
Costco’s net sales increased 16.2% to $15.75 billion for the retail month of August — the four-week period ended Aug 29, 2021 — from $13.56 billion in the last year. This followed an improvement of 16.6%, 16.9% and 24.2% in July, June and May, respectively.
For the 16-week fourth quarter ended Aug 29, 2021, Costco registered net sales of $61.4 billion. This reflects an increase of 17.4% from $52.3 billion reported in the year-ago period.
Given the current scenario, people have been shopping more at discount stores for essentials and other discretionary purchases. Quite obviously, Costco has emerged as a viable option for them. The company’s differentiated product range resonates well with customers’ spending habits.
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Decent Comps Run
Costco’s comparable sales for August jumped 14.2%. This followed an increase of 13.8%, 14.1% and 22.8% in July, June and May, respectively. Comparable sales for August reflect an improvement of 14.7%, 13.4% and 12.2% in the United States, Canada and Other International locations, respectively.
Excluding the impacts of changes in gasoline prices and foreign exchange, comparable sales for the month under discussion rose 9.1% on improvements of 10.1%, 5.2% and 7.3% in the United States, Canada and Other International locations, respectively.
For the 16 weeks fourth quarter ended Aug 29, 2021, comparable sales climbed 15.5%, reflecting increases of 14.9%, 19.5% and 15% in the United States, Canada and Other International locations, respectively.
E-Commerce Sales Rise
Costco has been rapidly adopting the omni-channel mantra to provide a seamless shopping experience, both online or at stores. The company’s acquisition of Innovel Solutions — a leading provider of third-party end-to-end logistics solutions (now called Costco Logistics) — has boosted its e-commerce capabilities and facilitates it to sell “big and bulky” items.
To drive its online sales, the company in collaboration with Uber Technologies launched a grocery delivery pilot in 25 locations across Texas. This allows members to get on-demand grocery delivery within hours, using Uber and Uber Eats mobile apps.
We note that e-commerce comparable sales rose 2.8% in August. This followed increases of 7.4%, 20.8% and 12.1% in July, June and May, respectively. For the 16 weeks fourth quarter ended Aug 29, 2021, e-commerce comparable sales increased 11.2%. Costco operates e-commerce sites in the United States, Canada, the U.K., Mexico, Korea, Taiwan, Japan and Australia.
Costco continues to be one of the dominant warehouse retailers based on the expanse and quality of merchandise offered. It is focused on ramping up investments in the wake of the rising competition from the likes of Walmart WMT and Target TGT. We believe that Costco’s business model and commitment toward opening membership warehouses will continue to drive traffic.
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