Costco Saw a Monthly Decline In Sales for the First Time, Which Could Signal the End of Panic Buying

Kristin Salaky
·2-min read
Photo credit: Barcroft Media - Getty Images
Photo credit: Barcroft Media - Getty Images

From Good Housekeeping

In April, Costco saw monthly sales fall for the first time in a decade, as some experts say that consumer buying habits are going back to normal after a rush of panic buying.

The retail giant released its monthly sales report and said that net sales were down 1.8 percent for April as compared to last year. This is the first time Costco has seen a decline in sales month-to-month since July 2009, according to Fox Business.

Costco attributed this loss to the effects of COVID-19, including social distancing measures and stay-at-home orders which "led to decreased traffic and sales."

"Limited service in Travel and our Food Courts; closures of most of our Optical, Hearing Aid and Photo departments, and lower volume and price deflation in our gasoline business negatively impacted our April sales by an estimated 12 percentage points, of which approximately 70 percent related to gasoline," the company continued.

Many retailers like Target, Walmart, and Costco saw a huge spike in sales and foot traffic in February and March as customers began to stock up, and in some cases, "panic buy," amid the coronavirus outbreak. But as more people got the supplies they needed, foot traffic began to slow toward the beginning of April in a sign that retail trends are going back to "normal."

Despite this slight dip in sales, analysts told Investors Business Daily that Costco is actually in a pretty good position to be successful because they offer grocery delivery and online shopping, two things customers may be more comfortable with as social distancing measures relax. Additionally, Costco announced many locations were going back to normal operating hours as of this week.

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