Costco reported Thursday that net sales for the first quarter of fiscal 2022 increased 16.7%, to $49.42 billion, up from $42.35 billion for the year-ago period. Comparable sales for the first quarter fiscal 2022 (12 weeks adjusted) were 14.9% in the U.S.
“Costco’s strength has continued to impress with visits up each month in 2021 compared to 2019. The brand has a unique ability to create a ‘sticky’ experience that drives loyalty and repeat visits. This has proven to be a powerful asset in 2021 and should serve as the foundation for further growth in 2022,” wrote Ethan Chernofsky of foot-traffic insights provider Placer.ai.
And when Placer.ai looks at monthly visits to Costco locations, a promising picture of a 2022 first quarter emerges. “It’s clear that 2021 has been a major boon for the retailer,” adds Chernofsky. “Foot traffic has been above pre-pandemic levels for every single month in 2021 so far, when compared to the same months in 2019. Over the past few months, visits were up 5.1% in September, 12.4% in October, and 3.9% in November.”
The robust earnings and brisk traffic come on the heels of Costco’s recent announcement that it will seek to enhance the value of its $60 annual membership.
In a move that appears designed to entice shoppers away from Amazon, the Issaquah, Wash.-based warehouse chain has reimagined its Costco Next program. First launched in 2017 with a handful of brands, Costco has expanded the program to allow shoppers to buy from some 35 brands and save 20% or more, reports CNN.
Currently, Costco Next features mostly non-grocery items, including deals on Anker phone chargers, Priority Bicycles, Mikasa dinnerware, Invicta watches, HO Sports floats and tubes, and Sumbody skincare.
“Costco Next is a special category that showcases an expanded selection of curated items from some of Costco’s most trusted suppliers,” says the company website. “Designed to complement both our inventory and quality standards, Costco Next features suppliers that have been hand-selected by our buyers for their quality of merchandise and exceptional customer service. So you can feel confident while shopping, knowing that you're choosing products from brands you can trust.”
The company says it plans to add more brands and products in the coming year.
Costco currently operates 828 warehouses, including 572 in the U.S. and Puerto Rico, 105 in Canada, 40 in Mexico, 30 in Japan, 29 in the U.K., 16 in Korea, 14 in Taiwan, 13 in Australia, four in Spain, two each in France and China, and one in Iceland. Costco also operates e-commerce sites in the U.S., Canada, the U.K., Mexico, Korea, Taiwan, Japan and Australia.