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Costco Finishes 2021 Strong With December Sales Gains

Warehouse club retailer posts double-digit gains
Marian Zboraj, Progressive Grocer
Costco Finishes 2021 With Strong December Sales
Costco's e-commerce sales in December increased 17.8% on a comparable basis for the month.

Following a positive first quarter that ended Nov. 21, 2021, Costco Wholesale Corp. is continuing its momentum with sales increasing for the retail month of December. The retailer reported net sales of $22.24 billion for the five weeks ended Jan. 2, 2022, an increase of 16.2% from $19.14 billion last year.

December comp sales rose 15.9% in the United States and 16.5% in Canada. Meanwhile, e-commerce sales increased 17.8% on a comparable basis for the month.

For the 18 weeks ended Jan. 2, 2022, the company reported net sales of $76.34 billion, an increase of 16.6% from $65.47 billion last year.

Costco continues to achieve impressive operating results despite supply chain and inflation pressures that aren’t anticipated to subside anytime soon. In an earnings call with analysts, CFO Richard Galanti said the the challenges include port delays, container challenges, COVID disruptions, shortages of various components, raw materials, ingredients, packaging supplies, labor cost pressures and truck driver challenges. Additionally, inflation is creeping ever higher.

Despite these challenges, Costco saw Q1 net income of $1.324 billion, or $2.98 per diluted share, compared with $1.166 billion, or $2.52 per diluted share, last year. Net sales for the quarter increased 16.7% to $49.42 billion, up from $42.35 billion a year earlier in the first quarter. Same-store sales for the first quarter were 9.9%, excluding gas inflation and the impacts of currency fluctuations.

Issaquah, Wash.-based Costco operates 828 warehouses worldwide. The company, which is No. 4 on Progressive Grocer’s 2021 PG 100 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America, also has e-commerce sites in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Mexico, Korea, Taiwan, Japan and Australia.

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