Costco’s (NASDAQ: COST) results for June showed that one of the most successful retailers in the United States stumbled. Costco tends to cater to high-end shoppers, so its same-store sales could indicate that the well-to-do have cut back their consumer spending. Same-stores sales were up only 3%.
The big-box retailer issued its numbers:
Costco Wholesale Corporation today reported net sales of $9.18 billion for the month of June, the five weeks ended July 1, 2012, an increase of six percent from $8.69 billion during the similar period last year.
There have been concerns that the purchasing patterns of relatively well-off consumers could be undermined by worry about tax increases in 2013. People in the upper strata of earners will be hurt most by the new taxes. The sales trend bodes poorly for the important year-end holiday season, which is now barely three months away. If Costco’s weak sales results persist until September, the three months that make or break most retailers could be rough.
Douglas A. McIntyre