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Costco’s (COST) Stellar Comps Performance Continues in 2018


Improving labor market, rising disposable income and elevated consumer sentiment have ushered confidence in Costco Wholesale Corporation COST that continued with its stellar comparable sales (comps) performance in 2018.

Comps for five-week ended Apr 8, 2018 increased 8.6%, following an advance of 10.5% in February and 6% in January. Last year, comps had gained 11.5% in December, 10.8% in November and 7.5% in October.

The company generated net sales of $12.92 billion in the month of March, up 10.9% year over year. Notably, net sales have jumped 12.8% and 8.4% in the months of February and January, respectively. The metric has displayed an increase of 14.3%, 13.2% and 10.1% in December, November and October, respectively.

Comps for March reflect an increase of 8.3%, 7.1% and 12.3% at the United States, Canada and Other International locations, respectively. Excluding the impact of foreign currency fluctuations and gasoline prices, Costco’s comps for the month under review rose 5.8%. The company recorded comps increase of 6.7%, 2% and 5.4% at the United States, Canada and Other International locations, respectively.

For the 31-week period, Costco reported 9.3% jump in comps, displaying an increase of 8.5%, 9.8% and 12.9% at the United States, Canada and Other International locations, respectively. Net sales for the period came in at $81.43 billion, an increase of 11.8% from the year-ago period.

While major chains are grappling with sluggish store and mall traffic as consumers switch to online shopping, Costco seems somewhat resilient to the challenging retail backdrop. We noted that in the past six months shares of this Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) have surged 15.6%, almost in line with the industry.

We noted that the company’s e-commerce comparable sales climbed 33.2% in the month under review. This signals that the company’s efforts to drive online sales bode well. With the wave of digital transformation hitting the sector, retailers are fast adopting the omni-channel mantra to provide a seamless shopping experience, whether online or in-stores. Costco, which shares pace with Walmart WMT, Amazon AMZN and Target TGT, is no exception to this trend. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 (Strong Buy) Rank stocks here.

Costco operates 749 warehouses, comprising 519 warehouses in the United States and Puerto Rico, 98 in Canada, 38 in Mexico, 28 in the U.K., 26 in Japan, 14 in Korea, 13 in Taiwan, nine in Australia, two in Spain, one in Iceland and one in France. It is also gradually expanding e-commerce capabilities in the United States, Canada, the U.K., Mexico, Korea and Taiwan.

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