By Kimberly Chin 

Costco Wholesale Corp.'s sales climbed again in the latest quarter as Americans continue to shop for food and goods for the home during the pandemic.

The wholesale retail chain's revenue rose to $44.77 billion in the quarter ended Feb. 14, a 15% increase from the year-earlier period, topping analysts' projections of $43.7 billion.

Comparable sales, accounting for stores or digital channels operating for at least 12 months, increased 12.9% during the February quarter, excluding the impact of gasoline sales and currency movements. The retailer's e-commerce sales rose 74.8% from the prior year as adjusted.

Big-box retailers including Walmart Inc. and Target Corp. have generally fared well amid the coronavirus crisis, offering pandemic-weary shoppers one-stop shopping and in some cases, easy buy online, pick up in store and parking lot options.

The company made a profit of $951 million, or $2.14 a share, for the quarter, up from $931 million, or $2.10 a share, in the comparable period last year. Analysts were targeting $2.45 a share.

The company boosted its pay for its U.S. workers to at least $16 an hour beginning this month. Costco has long paid its store workers more than most competitors, in part to reduce turnover as part of its low-cost operating model. Its minimum U.S. wage has been $15 an hour, the same as the starting wage at Amazon.com Inc. and Target. Costco has about 180,000 full-time and part-time U.S. employees.

For the quarter, the company reported selling, general and administrative expenses of $4.34 billion, up 16% from a year earlier.

Shoppers pay a membership fee for access to discounted, bulk goods, a model that tends to attract higher-income shoppers willing to pay a membership fee and more each shopping trip for a large amount of goods.

Write to Kimberly Chin at kimberly.chin@wsj.com

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

March 04, 2021 17:04 ET (22:04 GMT)

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