retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Costco yesterday said that its e-commerce sales went up 20 percent during the most recent quarter, a period during which same-store sales were up 5.6 percent.

(Total revenue rose to $34.74 billion in the quarter, up from $32.36 billion a year ago. Profits rose to $906 million, up from $750 million in the year-ago period.)

The Wall Street Journal writes that Costco “is taking a comparatively cautious approach to online growth versus other retailers. Walmart Inc. and Target Corp. have invested heavily to speed online delivery and offer curbside pickup, but Costco doesn’t have plans to offer groceries for online pickup in stores.”

Costco Chief Financial Officer Richard Galanti says, “We continue to look at it. We continue to scratch our head at it … We still want to drive the customer to the warehouse.

The Journal writes: “ The chain is adding lockers to more stores so shoppers can pick up online orders this year, mostly for small, high-priced items.”
KC's View:
Could Costco be right about bricks-and-mortar, and everybody else is wrong? To be honest, some of what Costco is doing in this area mystifies me … though it also is hard to argue with its continued sales and profit increases.

But I still question whether it is best prepared for a world in which fewer people will have big houses, big families, big basements and even big cars … all of which seem sort of intrinsic to its business model.