Australian Costco stores post record sales as bulk purchases skyrocket

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Australians’ thirst for pallet-sized packets of toilet paper and other wholesale purchases has led local Costco supermarkets to post record sales of nearly $ 3 billion in 2021.

Revenue from Costco’s Australian business reached $ 2.84 billion in the 12-month period ending August, according to accounts filed with the business regulator in late December. These sales figures represented an increase of 9.6% from the $ 2.59 billion in revenue the group had achieved the previous year.

Buyers are sourcing from Costco in Melbourne’s Docklands ahead of a five-day lockdown. Credit:Jason South

The increased sales spilled over into Costco’s bottom line, as its after-tax net profit more than doubled to $ 46.40 million from $ 22.22 million a year earlier.

The US supermarket group is known for its warehouse format and significant discounts on groceries, clothing and other bulk merchandise. The retailer is a members-only business, which means shoppers must be registered members to shop in the store.

After a quiet start in Australia in 2009, Costco has grown in popularity with shoppers and now has a network of 13 stores across the country. Because its stores sell groceries, Costco has remained open during closings unlike many other retailers who have been forced to close due to state government restrictions.

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“During the pandemic, the company provided an essential service to the community while prioritizing the safety of our employees and members,” said Australian President of Costco, Patrick Noone.

Costco’s increased Australian presence during the year also helped boost results, Mr. Noone said. “The change in profit from ordinary activities before tax is mainly due to an increase in income from the additional warehouse and e-commerce activity,” he said.

Costco isn’t the only overseas retailer to have a 2021 bumper. Local businesses at Uniqlo and IKEA also had a good year as Australians shifted to wearing comfortable clothes and setting up their offices. home. Japan’s Uniqlo posted an 11.7% increase in sales in the 12 months ending August 31, while the Swedish furniture group saw a 4.5% increase in sales.

The success of the large offshore groups comes as local retailers with large store networks have struggled with phased closures in NSW and Victoria. Wesfarmers said in August that its Kmart and Target brands had a difficult start to the year (through June 30) with sales down 14.3% in the first eight weeks of the year. Wesfarmers chief executive Rob Stott told shareholders at the group’s annual general meeting in October that since then sales have improved at Bunnings and Officeworks but have remained weak at Kmart and Target.

Results for overseas-headquartered retailers preceded the rebound in consumer spending, as lockdowns were lifted in NSW and Victoria. October retail figures, released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics in the week leading up to Christmas, show turnover increased 4.9% on a seasonally adjusted basis.


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