Costco Posts Strong Q1 Comp Gains

Costco posted strong first quarter comp gains, and highlighted the month of November when its sales soared.

For the first quarter ended November 26, Costco Wholesale Corp. posted a comparable sales gain, without the impact of fuel and foreign exchange volatility, of 7.9%. Comps in the U.S. gained 8.7%, those in Canada gained 4.3% and those in other international markets gained 8.2%. Comparable e-commerce sales advanced 43.6% in the quarter from the year-prior quarter. Costco recorded net sales of $31.13 billion, up 13.3% from the year-earlier first quarter.

This year’s first quarter included one less sales day than the first quarter in the year prior due to the shift of the Thanksgiving closure this year, Costco noted. As such, pre-Thanksgiving and Black Friday/holiday weekend sales fell into the first quarter this year compared to the second quarter last year. Combined, those factors produced a net benefit of about 1.5% in the U.S. and slightly less worldwide.

For the fiscal month of November, Costco posted a rise in comps, without fuel and foreign exchange effects, of 7.9%. U.S. comps gained 8.4%, those in Canada gained 6.3% and those in other international markets gained 7.2%. Net sales were $11.26 billion for the month of November, up 13.2% from the month a year previous.

In U.S. sales regions, the company stated in a conference call, the Midwest, Southeast and Texas generated strong sales results. As for merchandising categories, softlines comps increased in the high single digits during November, with better performing segments included domestics, apparel and jewelry. Hardlines comps increased in the low teens with automotive, office, tires and sporting goods leading and with majors up mid-teens led by appliances, tablets and computers.