By Claudia Assis, MarketWatch
Costco Wholesale Corp. shares fell in the extended session Thursday after the retailer missed Wall Street expectations for its fiscal third quarter, during which it spent nearly $300 million in wages and extra sanitation amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Costco /zigman2/quotes/201191698/composite COST -0.86% said it earned $838 million, or $1.89 a share, in the quarter, compared with $906 million, or $2.05 a share, in the year-ago period.
The quarterly profit was impacted by pretax expenses of $283 million, or 47 cents a share, “from incremental wage and sanitation costs related to COVID-19,” the retailer said.
Sales rose 7% to $36.45 billion, compared with $33.96 billion a year ago. Same-store sales rose 4.8% in the quarter, with online sales jumping 65%.
Analysts polled by FactSet expected the retailer to report GAAP earnings of $1.96 a share on sales of $37 billion.
Costco earlier this month reported that its April sales fell 1.8% as skyrocketing e-commerce sales didn’t make up for a drop in foot traffic at its stores, which the retailer pinned down on stay-at-home orders, social distancing restrictions and closures, adding that the ongoing coronavirus-related shutdowns also impacted its travel business, food courts and departments such as optical and photo.
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.
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.