Costco Shares Gains As Retailer Reports Solid May Sales That Outpace Third Quarter Gains

Costco said its sales for the 39 weeks ending in May are up 7.7% from last year to $120.19 billion.

Costco Wholesale Corp.  (COST) - Get Report shares bumped higher Thursday after it said May sales neared $13 billion as large-scale retailers continue to dominate the U.S. spending landscape amid slowly easing coronavirus lockdown restrictions.

Costco said net sales for the month rose 7.5% from last year to $12.55 billion, topping the 7.3% gain recorded over the three months ending on May 10. Sales over the past six months, Costco said, are up 7.7% from last year at $120.19 billion.

Costco shares were marked 1.9% higher in early trading Thursday to change hands at $312.58 each, a move nudges the stock's year-to-date gain to around 5%.

Late last month, Costco said adjusted earnings for its fiscal third quarter fell 7.5% from last year to $1.89 per share and missed the Street consensus forecast by around a nickel as COVID-19 costs rose to $283 million, the equivalent of 47 cents per share. 

Costco said at the time taht bulk purchases of essentials such as paper towels, cleaning supplies and food -- typically lower margin items -- offset weaker revenues from jewelry, luggage, third-party gift cards. Still, the average transaction rose 9.3% from last year, the company said, and membership revenues rose 5% to $815 million.