Shares of Costco Wholesale Corporation (COST - Analyst Report) rose 3% following the comparable-store sales results for April, the four weeks ended May 4, 2014 that bettered analysts' expectations. The warehouse retailer delivered comparable-store sales growth of 5%, portraying an increase of 5% at the U.S. and 2% at international locations. Comps were adversely impacted by one less day of sales in this period compared with the prior year due to the Easter timing.
Excluding the effect of inflation in gasoline prices and impact of foreign currency fluctuations, Costco’s comparable-store sales for April rose 5%, reflecting comparable sales growth of 5% at its U.S. locations and 7% at international outlets.
Most of the retailers benefited during the month under review, as favorable weather conditions, shift in Easter holiday to Apr 20 this year, aggressive promotional strategies and improving job prospects were enough to lure consumers. Retailers such as L Brands, Inc. (LB - Analyst Report), The Gap, Inc. (GPS - Analyst Report) and Zumiez, Inc. (ZUMZ - Analyst Report) saw their comparable-store sales increasing 8%, 9% and 8.2%, respectively during April.
Coming to Costco, comparable-store sales for the 35-week period increased 3%, buoyed by 4% growth at the U.S. and 1% increase at international locations. Excluding the effect of gasoline prices and foreign currency fluctuations, Costco’s comparable-store sales for the period jumped 5%. Comps increased 5% at the U.S. and 7% at international locations.
Total net sales for April rose 7% to $8.56 billion from $7.98 billion in the year-ago period. Costco’s net sales for the 35-week period increased 6% to $73.21 billion from $69 billion in the year-ago period.
Costco currently operates 652 warehouses, comprising 463 in the United States and Puerto Rico, 87 in Canada, 33 in Mexico, 25 in the United Kingdom, 19 in Japan, 10 in Taiwan, 10 in Korea, and 5 in Australia.
Currently, Costco carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).