Costco April sales fall nearly 2%

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Costco Wholesale Corp. said late Wednesday its April sales fell 1.8% as skyrocketing e-commerce sales didn’t make up for a drop in foot traffic at its stores.

Costco said its April sales fell to $11.4 billion from $11.6 billion in April 2019. E-commerce sales rose nearly 86% in the month, the retailer said. Same-store sales fell 4.7% in April, including a 3.3% drop in U.S. same-store sales.

The retailer pinned the drop on stay-at-home orders, social-distancing restrictions and some mandatory closures, adding that the ongoing shutdowns also impacted its travel business, food courts and departments such as optical and photo.

Costco’s March sales, which partially captured the impact of the first days of shelter-in-place orders across the U.S. to curb the spread of coronavirus, rose 12% and included a 48% jump in online sales.

Costco reported an 8% increase in January net sales and a 14% increase in February net sales. That month, when the first U.S. cases of COVID-19 surfaced, e-commerce sales rose nearly 23%. By mid-March, major cities across the U.S. issued orders to self-quarantine and businesses deemed not essential shut down.

Shares of Costco fell 0.8% in the extended session Wednesday after ending the regular trading day 0.3% higher.

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