“We’re getting deliveries daily, but still not enough given the increased levels of demand on certain key items,” Chief Financial Officer Richard Galanti said on Costco’s second-quarter earnings call Thursday. “It’s been a little crazy this past week in terms of outside shopping frequency and sales levels and not only in the United States.”
With the rise in coronavirus outbreaks, concerns about possible quarantines and lockdowns have increased and caused a run on goods like detergents, baby towels, toilet paper, bottled water, and dry foods.
Costco reported a 12.1 percent uptick in sales to $39.07 billion in February compared to last year.
Worried shoppers had to wait in long, winding lines, sometimes circling the block to secure their access to groceries, bleach, paper goods, and even water filtration and food storage systems.
Many people shared their experiences on social media. But the long wait was often for naught. Empty shelves and purchase limits on certain highly coveted items awaited them. In some instances, there were even unruly incidents between people vying over products.
“These last nine or so days has been beyond busy,” Galanti said during Thursday’s earnings call.
“We had a huge pickup in traffic” starting last week and continuing this week, Galanti said. “Are some of them putting it in their basements for another day? Some of it related to the fact that people aren’t eating out as much? I think it’s a combination of those factors.”
“There were not only product issues but also trucking and port issues,” Galanti said about supply chain bottlenecks in China that also played a part, but are steadily improving. “These are also abating with port capacity in China improving each day,” he said.