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PriceSmart’s April Comps Rise 1.9%, Stock Down 8% in a Month


PriceSmart, Inc. PSMT has been witnessing robust sales performance for a while now despite an evolving retail landscape. The company’s net sales rose 1.6% year over year to $240.3 million for April, following increase of 8.9%, 6.6% and 6.2% in March, February and January, respectively.

Also, comparable warehouse club sales rose 1.9% for the four weeks (ended Apr 29, 2018). Comps grew 3.5%, 4.4% and 0.5% for March, February and January, respectively. Comparable warehouse club sales were up 2.7% for the 34-week period (ended Apr 29, 2018) compared with the year-ago period.

For the 8 weeks ending Apr 29, 2018, comparable warehouse club sales increased 2.7%. The 8-week period was taken into consideration due to the shift of Easter from April to March in 2018, unlike the previous year, to analyze performance better.

On May 3, PriceSmart introduced a warehouse club in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, marking its fourth club in the country. This brings the total company’s warehouse clubs in operation to 41.

Notably, retail sector has long been bearing the brunt of changing consumer preferences from offline shopping to online, alongside lower store traffic and volatile consumer spending. Consequently, retailers are focusing more on enhancing their omni-channel capabilities, optimizing store fleet and restructuring activities to counter these headwinds.

Such woes in the retail space have weighed on PriceSmart’s results as evident from its dismal surprise history. PriceSmart delivered in-line earnings in the last reported quarter after three straight misses. In the trailing four quarters, the company pulled off an average negative earnings surprise of 7.1%.

These concerns have also hurt investors’ sentiments. Consequently, this Zacks Rank #4 (Sell) company underperformed the industry in a month’s time. The stock has lost 7.8% against the industry’s breakeven.

You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Apart from PriceSmart, retailers like L Brands, Inc. LB, Zumiez Inc. ZUMZ and Costco Wholesale Corporation COST recently released sales data for April. While L Brands reported flat comps year over year, Zumiez and Costco continued with their favorable comps trend, gaining 1.7% and 10.9%, respectively. In fact, Zumiez reported comps growth for the 14th straight month.

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