Costco Wholesale Corporation (NASDAQ: COST ) reported March net sales of $10.43 billion today, up nearly 8% from the year-ago period. The big box store saw comparable-store sales head up a seasonally adjusted 5% for the five weeks ended April 6, according to numbers released today, solidly beating analyst expectations.
While that growth beats analyst expectations of a smaller 3.5% rise for same-store sales, Costco noted it saw a sales boost partly because this year's March reporting period had an extra day of sales in it thanks to Easter falling in April this year and in March last year. This calendar shift positively impacted this March's comps by an estimated 1% to 1.5%, according to Costco..
Geographically, Costco's domestic business fared slightly better overall. U.S. same-store sales increased 6% for March, while the company saw a slighter 4% increase elsewhere in the world. The same trend holds for the past 31 weeks. Costco's U.S. same-store sales are up 4%, while its international same-store sales gained it just 1% over that longer time period.
Costco sales experience significantly volatility from fluctuating gas prices and exchange rates. Excluding the effects of these two macro movers, March comps were up 6% in the U.S., 9% internationally, and 7% overall. Reuters noted that the company's Japan sales soared as locals headed to the stores ahead of an April 1 sales-tax hike.