Costco continues digital surge

Fresh food and e-commerce sales surged at Costco in January, contributing to a 16.4% same store sales increase.

For the four weeks ended Jan. 31, e-commerce increased 106.7% year over year. For the 22 weeks ended Jan. 31, e-commerce increased 79.5%.

Costco also reported net sales of $13.64 billion the four weeks ended Jan. 31, 2021, an increase of 17.9% from last year.

For the 22 weeks ended Jan. 31, the company reported net sales of $79.11 billion, an increase of 15.4% from $68.56 billion during the similar period last year.

For the month of January, U.S. comparable store sales increased 16.4%, excluding the impact of gasoline sales; for the 22 weeks ended Jan. 31, the increase was 14.7%. In Canada, those respective comparable store sales increased 12.2% and 13.1%.

Growth was fueled because Costco traffic increased by 5.1% in the month ended Jan. 31. The company's U.S. operations saw particular strength in Texas and in the Southeast. Additionally, from a category standpoint, food and sundries increased in the high teens and fresh food grew 20%, driven by meat and produce.

Costco currently operates 803 warehouses, including 558 in the United States and Puerto Rico, 102 in Canada, 39 in Mexico, 29 in the United Kingdom, 27 in Japan, 16 in Korea, 14 in Taiwan, 12 in Australia, three in Spain, and one each in Iceland, France and China. Costco also operates e-commerce sites in the U.S., Canada, the United Kingdom, Mexico, Korea, Taiwan, Japan and Australia.

The food retail chain recently started to test curbside pickup, joining the larger trend in the food retail world as grocery e-commerce continues to expand.