Individuals load Clorox into their automobile within the Costco car parking zone after the primary confirmed case of coronavirus was introduced in New York State, in Brooklyn, New York, March 2, 2020.
Andrew Kelly | Reuters
Costco reported stronger gross sales than analysts had been anticipating Thursday, thanks partly to a lift the corporate acquired from shoppers stocking up at its shops to organize for a extra widespread outbreak of the brand new coronavirus.
“February gross sales benefited from an uptick in shopper demand within the fourth week of the reporting interval,” the corporate mentioned. “We attribute this to issues over the coronavirus.”
Costco mentioned the affect boosted its month-to-month same-store gross sales for February by roughly 3%. For the month ended March 1, same-store gross sales had been up 12.1%. Gordon Haskett analyst Chuck Grom had been calling for month-to-month same-store gross sales progress of seven.5%.
Throngs of shoppers this past weekend and into this week have flocked to Costco shops throughout the nation to replenish on water, paper towels, sanitizing wipes and different family items. The corporate instructed analysts Thursday it has been receiving deliveries day by day. It additionally mentioned, in some cases, it’s putting limits on how a lot folks should buy. It mentioned it’s working speedily to restrict out-of-stocks in grocery and family requirements.
“Total … it simply takes somewhat extra work,” CFO Richard Galanti mentioned throughout a post-earnings convention name with analysts.
“These final 9 or so days has been past busy,” he added.
For its fiscal second quarter, general, Costco mentioned same-store gross sales, which is a metric that tracks gross sales on-line and from shops for no less than 12 months, rose 8.9%. They had been up 7.9% when excluding the affect of gasoline costs and foreign money fluctuations, the corporate mentioned.
Galanti instructed analysts Thursday that gross sales have nonetheless been trending larger into the primary few days of March. However he mentioned it’s nonetheless too troublesome to quantify the affect COVID-19 could have on its future outcomes.
When customers are coming in to prep for the coronavirus outbreak, Galanti mentioned clients are additionally shopping for different big-ticket objects, similar to patio furnishings, which might find yourself being a much bigger boon to gross sales.
Relating to its provide chain, Costco mentioned in China “closures of many manufacturing services prolonged effectively past the everyday one-week Chinese language New Yr vacation.”
“In lots of instances, factories over there have been closed for one to 2 extra weeks,” Galanti mentioned. “That is now bettering every week.”
Costco is anticipated to report its March gross sales outcomes, for the 5 weeks ending April 5, on April 8.
Costco shares had been down lower than 1% in after-hours buying and selling Thursday. The inventory had closed Thursday down about 1.5%, amid a broader sell-off. Costco has a market cap of about $139.5 billion.
Correction: This story was up to date to right the spelling of Costco.