Even with a rise in COVID-19 cases in a number of states, Costco intends to open five new stores prior to September’s close, in addition to two delivery facilities. The new stores will be in Cherry Hill, New Jersey; Bismarck, North Dakota; Saratoga Springs, Utah; Surprise, Arizona and Idaho Falls, Idaho, Acorns reported.
Per the report, Morningstar Equity Analyst Zain Akbari said that a number of the new Costco stores were likely under construction at the time that COVID-19 limitations became more restrictive in the spring. "The cost to delay [openings] can often be far higher than just opening the stores and proceeding," Akbari noted.
Costco is also closing select stores. The new Surprise, Arizona store, in one case, is a 40-minute drive away from a Phoenix store that is shuttering in the fall. Jeff Green, a retail real estate consultant, said that, for the most part, the warehouse chain has an outlook of two or three years into the future.
"They are taking the long-range view that this will get better, and when it does, they will be back to full strength," Green said.
The warehouse chain is also keeping its designated shopping hours for its senior customers. The window from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. will be dedicated to shoppers “ages 60 and older, and for those with disabilities or who are immunocompromised,” per Costco’s website, which also notes some exceptions.
Costco’s same-store sales rose 4.8 percent for the time period ending on May 10 as consumers stocked up on merchandise during the pandemic. The retailer’s eCommerce sales spiked 64.5 percent compared to the same period the prior year.
The warehouse chain has nearly 800 retail stores worldwide, including 547 in the United States, per news in May. At the time, CFO Richard Galanti said in an earnings call that customers traveled to stores less often, but bought more products when they came to the locations.