PriceSmart, Inc. (NASDAQ: PSMT) the US based warehouse club retailer that operates stores in Colombia, Central America & The Caribbean this month announced that for June 2020 net merchandise sales decreased 1.5% to $249.2 million USD from $253.1 million in June a year earlier. Foreign currency exchange fluctuations impacted net merchandise sales negatively by $7.8 million or 3.1% versus the same one-month period in the prior year. There were 46 warehouse clubs in operation at the end of June 2020 and 43 warehouse clubs in operation at the end of June 2019.
For the four weeks ended June 28, 2020, comparable net merchandise sales for the 41 warehouse clubs open at least 13 ½ full months decreased 4.9% when compared to the same four-week period last year. Foreign currency exchange rate fluctuations impacted comparable net merchandise sales negatively by $7.1 million or 3.1% versus the same period in the prior year.
“We have seen sequential improvement in net merchandise sales over the past two months despite the increasing impact of the global pandemic in our markets. We face certain challenges because of COVID-related government mandates including temporary club closures, a reduction in the number of days during the week and hours per day our clubs are permitted to be open, restrictions on segments of the population permitted to shop or circulate on particular days, and limits on the number of people permitted to be in our clubs at the same time. Comparable sales were strongest in our Caribbean and Colombian markets, but Central America was not as strong, especially where COVID cases and related restrictions have become more prevalent. We estimate a total of approximately 70 club days lost to closures in June, where in-club shopping was not permitted said Sherry S. Bahrambeygui, Chief Executive Officer.
Above: PriceSmart has installed enclosures around cashiers to isolate them from shoppers during checkout, along with other safety measures. Pricesmart Medellín photo: Loren Moss
“However, our team continued to quickly adapt to meet our members’ needs, having rolled out our Click and Go contactless online ordering and curbside pickup service to all markets. Although we only recently launched our Click and Go service, we are pleased to report that sales accounted for 2.7% of total net merchandise sales for the month of June 2020. We continue to work on improving and expanding our online initiatives and optimizing our club operations to allow members to have visibility to inventory, options for shopping, and the ability to purchase goods and services safely, quickly and efficiently. As we all work together to persevere and excel during these uncertain times, our online initiatives and club optimizations are directed at fulfilling our top priority to protect the well-being of our employees and members, while enhancing their shopping experience.”
Fiscal year to date, which includes the ten months ended June 30, 2020, net merchandise sales increased 3.6% to $2,668.0 million from $2,575.9 million for the ten months ended June 30, 2019. Foreign currency exchange rate fluctuations impacted net merchandise sales negatively by $42.2 million or 1.6% versus the same ten-month period in the prior year.
For the 43-week period ended June 28, 2020, comparable net merchandise sales decreased 1.1% compared to the same 43-week period a year ago. Foreign currency exchange rate fluctuations impacted comparable net merchandise sales negatively by $40.1 million or 1.6% versus the same prior year period.