As shoppers stocked up on products in bulk amid the pandemic, Costco’s same-store sales increased 4.8 percent for the period concluding on May 10. The warehouse club’s online shopping sales, however, surged 64.5 percent compared to the same timeframe a year earlier, CNBC reported.
Costco has almost 800 retail locations throughout the globe, with the inclusion of 547 domestically. Chief Financial Officer Richard Galanti said in an earnings call per the report that customers traveled to stores less frequently but stocked up on more items when they arrived, as was the case with other grocers.
Shopping frequency declined in the quarter globally by 4.1 percent globally and 2 percent domestically. Average ticket, however, increased by 9.3 percent during the quarter. The warehouse chain’s costs, however, were up because of the pandemic even though sales increased. Additional wages and sanitation expenses cut into earnings by $283 million.
But Galanti said the company has “been fortunate that we’ve been open” and noted that it possesses a layout that makes individuals feel more secure. He noted, “When you talk to people anecdotally, they feel frankly more comfortable coming into a Costco which is bigger, more wide open, with certainly the six feet apart that we’re all doing.”
The retailer, for its part, limited the number of customers in its retail locations as well as shuttered or restricted service in some departments such as optical and hearing aids.
Earlier this month, news surfaced that Costco was the most recent retailer to restrict fresh meat purchases due to processing plant slowdowns amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The retailer said in early May that customers can’t purchase over three items of pork, beef and poultry products to make sure more members are able to buy the products.
The warehouse club wrote on its Updates and Coronavirus Response page, “Costco has implemented limits on certain items to help ensure more members are able to purchase merchandise they want and need.”