October 8, 2010, 12:44 PM

Web sales rebound for Costco in fiscal 2010

It wasn’t a breakout year online, but web sales increased 6.3%.

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It certainly was not a breakout year online, but web sales rebounded for Costco Wholesale Corp. in fiscal 2010.

 For the 2010 fiscal year ended Aug. 29, Costco, No. 15 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, recorded:

  • An increase in web sales of about 6.3% to $1.7 billion from $1.6 billion in fiscal 2009.
  • Net sales in fiscal 2010 increased 9.2% to $76.3 billion from $69.9 billion in the prior year.
  • Comparable-store sales increased 7%.
  • Total revenue, which includes membership fees, increased 9.1% to $77.9 billion from $71.4 billion.
  • Net income rose year over year about 20.4% to $1.3 billion from $1.08 billion.

Although web sales are higher, revenue for Costco.com is still hampered by cautious consumer spending on big-ticket items such as electronics, chief financial officer Richard Galanti told Wall Street analysts on yesterday’s year-end earnings call.

“A cornerstone of our dotcom is limited items but big ticket items,” he said. “Certainly big-ticket discretionary items weren’t helped in 2009, post late 2008, and the sales in 2010 were back up to a little bit above the high watermark from the previous year.”

Costco doesn’t release specific web metrics but Costco.com is “still quite profitable,” Galanti told analysts. He also expects stronger e-commerce sales going forward. “These (Costco.com sales) once again were impacted in the past year given our big-ticket discretionary items and the economy, but I think it would be back on track with a plus sign in front of it.”

Internet Retailer calculates the web accounted for 2.2% of all net sales in fiscal 2010, compared with 2.3% of net sales in fiscal 2009.

Costco, which doesn’t break out quarterly web sales, in the fourth quarter reported:

  • Net sales increased about 7.7% to $23.6 billion from $21.9 billion in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2009.
  • Comparable-store sales increased 6%.
  • Total revenue, which includes membership fees, increased 7.6% to $24.1 billion from $22.4 billion in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2009.
  • Net income rose year over year about 15.5% to $432 million from $374 million.

 

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