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Costco sales top $18 billion in March

Costco Wholesale Corp. said late Wednesday that its March sales rose nearly 18% to $18.21 billion, from $15.49 billion in March 2020, also an uptick compared with February sales.

Costco COST, -0.36% shares rose 0.3% in the extended session after ending regular trading Wednesday down 0.4%.

The retailer said same-store sales rose 16%, including a 13.9% rise for U.S. comparable-store sales. Online sales jumped 57.7%, it said.

The five-week retail month had one fewer shopping day than last year’s due to a calendar shift for the Easter holiday, Costco said.

Costco last month reported that February sales rose 15% to $14.05 billion.

Also in March, the retailer reported fiscal second-quarter earnings below Wall Street expectations, due in part to higher wages amid the pandemic.

Costco has been one of the beneficiaries of a pandemic-fueled stockpiling, but its expenses have also increased and foot traffic in its stores has been a concern.

The stock has gained 18% in the past 12 months, compared with gains of around 53% for the S&P 500 index SPX, +0.15%.

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