For the first quarter, Costco enjoyed double-digit comparable sales, driven by big online sales, and a beat on Wall Street earnings estimates.
Net income for the quarter was $1.17 billion, or $2.62 per diluted share, compared to $844 million, or $1.90 per diluted share, in the period a year earlier. The first quarter included tax benefits of $145 million, or 33 cents per diluted share, with 16 cents due to the deductibility of a $10 per share special cash dividend, to the extent received by the company’s 401(k) plan participants, and 17 cents related to stock-based compensation. Last year’s first quarter included a $77 million, or 17 cent per diluted share tax, benefit related to stock-based compensation. This year’s results reflect an expense for COVID-19 premium wages of $212 million pre-tax, or 35 cents per diluted share, the company reported.
With one-time events excluded, Costco topped a MarketBeat-published analyst consensus estimate by 24 cents.
Comparable sales, without foreign currency and fuel price effects, were up 17.1% for the company from the year-before period with results from the United States up 17%, those from Canada up 16.8% and those from other international operations up 17.7%. E-commerce comps advanced 86.2% in the quarter year over year. In the U.S., comp traffic and average transaction both increased from the year previous, the company noted in a conference call.
Costco posted net sales of $42.35 billion for the quarter, up 16.9% from the year-prior period.