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In March, Costco posted a 0.9% gain after excluding the impact of changes in gasoline prices.

Costco sales the worst since COVID-19 shutdown

Food sales, however, remain strong; could the retailer’s sales boom be over?

Nobody wants to go back to the beginnings of the COVID-19 pandemic, when the nation experienced an economic lockdown. The latest sales numbers from Costco, however, are reflecting that time.

For the second straight month, the super retailer is showing a decline in sales. In March, Costco posted a 0.9% gain after excluding the impact of changes in gasoline prices, marking the smallest gain since April 2020 when consumers were on lockdown due to COVID-19. Some market experts are beginning to think Costco’s long sales boom has happened and what’s left is a crater. In December and January, Costco sales were up 6%, but in February the number was just 3.5%. Still, the store could rebound as the second quarter revs up. It’s important to note that the Institute for Supply Management revealed the service sector in March experience slower-than-expected growth.

Food sales were a positive for Costco last month, but sales for non-food items like toys and seasonal goods, home furnishings and jewelry drifted off course.

An ongoing slump in e-commerce sales was just one of the factors behind a mixed second quarter financial report for Costco that came in slightly below expectations in terms of total revenue. Market experts also are claiming consumers are cooling off their spending when it comes to discretionary items due to inflation.

E-commerce sales dipped 11.2% in February while quarterly e-commerce business suffered a 9.6% loss.

The retailer was calling for total second quarter revenue of just over $55.5 billion, but registered $55.27 billion. However, same-store sales in the U.S. were up 5.8%, a touch above a 5.56% prediction, and February net sales came in at just over $17 billion, which is a 4.7% rise compared to $16.29 billion in February 2022.

Costco recently created a stir in the news behind a social media post showing a free sample kiosk that could be in the works. The retailer is famous for its human sampling “machines”, but staffing issues could be getting in the way.



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