Costco Wholesale has achieved impressive results in the first fiscal quarter, with same-store sales rising by 4.5% in September compared to the previous year. This growth is an acceleration from August’s 3.4% increase. Moreover, e-commerce sales have also experienced a notable rise of 3.7%.
One significant factor contributing to Costco’s success this month is the increase in gas prices. Assistant Vice President of Financial Planning and Investor Relations, Josh Dahmen, stated that higher gas prices accounted for approximately a 0.5% increase in same-store sales. The average price per gallon worldwide has risen by 3.5% compared to the same period last year. However, after considering changes in gasoline prices and foreign-exchange fluctuations, the core same-store sales growth stands at 3.7%, slightly lower than the 4.1% increase observed in August.
In September, net sales reached $22.75 billion, representing a 6% increase from the previous year. The rise in sales in August was slightly lower at 5%. Furthermore, comparable traffic increased by 4.9% globally and by 4.5% in the U.S.
Although Costco experienced strong sales across various categories, food and sundries emerged as the best performing sectors in September. Conversely, sales for home furnishings, sporting goods, and hardware were relatively weak. This trend aligns with the broader industry pattern where consumers prioritize spending on necessities while reducing discretionary expenses.
Notably, Costco’s weakest market remains in the U.S., where same-store sales increased by 3.2%, compared to a 6.7% gain in Canada and a noteworthy 10% increase in international markets.
Despite these achievements, Costco’s shares dipped slightly by 0.1% to $571.01 during after-hours trading on Wednesday after a 1.2% increase during the regular trading session. In total, the stock has gained an impressive 25% this year, surpassing the S&P 500’s growth of 11%.