Costco Wholesale (NASDAQ:COST) isn't letting a global pandemic curb its tendency to raise its dividend. On Wednesday, the big retailer announced that its board of directors declared a hike of almost 8% in its quarterly stockholder disbursement. The new amount, $0.70 per share, will be handed out on May 15 to investors of record as of May 1.
The declaration comes one week after Costco released its March sales figures, which were particularly encouraging, given the difficult economic times we're living through because of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus outbreak.
For the month, the company's net sales rose by almost 12% on a year-over-year basis to land at nearly $15.5 billion. Although the double-digit increase was due, at least in part, to people stocking up before "stay-at-home" mandates kicked in, the company's sales had already been on the rise for quite some time.
Costco has been a steady and reliable dividend payer since 2004, according to data presented on its website. It's also been a frequent raiser, lifting that payout annually beginning in 2005. The company is also known for paying rather meaty special dividends from time to time.
The regular dividend hasn't exactly been a high-yield item, however. Even with the new raise, it would still only yield 0.9% as of the latest closing share price. That's well below the level of many prominent, dividend-paying consumer goods stocks.
Perhaps that's a reason why investors gave the raise a bit of a shrug on Wednesday. The company's stock dipped by 1.2% on the day, a performance that was only slightly better than the broader equity market.