Costco’s December Comp Up 11% In U.S.
It was a Merry Christmas for Costco where U.S. same store sales for the five week period ended Jan. 3 increased 11% and e-commerce sales rose 61.6%.
The company said same store sales in its food and sundries category increased by low double digits while fresh food sales increased by high teens. The strongest regions for sales were the Southeast, Texas and the Northeast.
Despite an enviable comp increase and digital growth, the sales results reflect a deceleration from the beginning of the company’s fiscal year on Aug. 31, 2020. In September, October and November, U.S. comps excluding fuel increased 16.7%, 16.4% and 14.2%, respectively. E-commerce sales for the same three months increased 90.1%, 91% and 70.9%.
The growth Costco did experience in the December reporting period was due mainly to increased transaction sizes, which grew 11.4%, while shopper frequency was down.
Total sales for the December reporting period increased 12.3% to $19.14 billion and for the first 18 weeks of Costco’s fiscal year sales increased 14.9% to $65.5 billion.
Another notable detail Costco shared about December was that the total volume of gasoline it sold declined 10% and the average price per gallon of $2.37 was 14% lower than the prior year
No new warehouses were opened during December, which is typical. Costco ended the month with a total of 803 warehouses, including 558 in the United States and Puerto Rico, 102 in Canada, 39 in Mexico, 29 in the United Kingdom, 27 in Japan, 16 in Korea, 14 in Taiwan, 12 in Australia, three in Spain, and one each in Iceland, France, and China.