Home Goods Contribute To Costco March Gains

Costco Wholesale Corp. has reported net sales of $10.43 billion for the month of March, up 8% from the same month last year. With the effects of gasoline price deflation and foreign exchange rate fluctuations excluded, March comparable store sales in the United States advanced 6% while comps in international markets gained 9% for a company total comp increase of 7% over the month last year.

The warehouse club operator noted that this year’s five-week period included 35 days of sales compared to 34 in last year’s fiscal month, reflecting the timing of Easter. The calendar shift bolstered this year’s net and comparable sales by an estimated one to one and one-half percent, the company noted.

In a conference call, Costco noted that the Midwest and the Southeast generated the strongest comps among Costco sales regions. Softlines comps increased in the low double digit range, with small appliances, housewares, domestics and men’s and women’s apparel leading the way. Hardlines comps gained low to mid single digits with office and hardware among the leading segments and electronics flat. Food and sundries comps increased in the mid to high single digit range while fresh food increased in the high single digit range.