PriceSmart, Inc. (NASDAQ: PSMT) announced that for the month of August 2020 net merchandise sales increased 0.9% to $262.4 million USD from $260.0 million in August a year earlier. Foreign currency exchange fluctuations impacted net merchandise sales negatively by 3.9%, or $10.1 million versus the same one-month period in the prior year. There were 46 warehouse clubs in operation at the end of August 2020 and 43 warehouse clubs in operation at the end of August 2019.
For the five weeks ended August 30, 2020, comparable net merchandise sales for the 42 warehouse clubs open at least 13 ½ full months decreased 2.8% when compared to the same period last year. Foreign currency exchange rate fluctuations impacted comparable net merchandise sales negatively by 3.8%, or $11.0 million versus the same period in the prior year.
“August marked the fourth month of sequential improvement in net merchandise sales. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, our sales continue to be adversely impacted by significant shopping limitations imposed by local governments in many of our markets. These limitations vary by market, require close monitoring and we believe are generally more restrictive than what is being experienced by retailers of essential goods in the United States. We are making what we believe are the appropriate investments to continue to develop innovative ways to better and more safely serve our Members and protect our employees,” said Sherry S. Bahrambeygui, Chief Executive Officer.
PriceSmart said that its “Click & Go” service, including curbside pickup and delivery, contributed approximately 4.0% of total net merchandise sales for the month of August 2020. Curbside pickup is available in all markets and delivery has expanded to six markets, up from four last month. During the last week of August, the retailer held its first “Member Appreciation Week,” during which it partnered with vendors to offer more compelling prices on certain items. Stores invited existing and new Members to order online and familiarize themselves with its Click & Go service.”
According to Tracxn, PriceSmart’s new app has already been downloaded over 30,000 times.
“The Caribbean market was again the best performing segment but gains there were offset by negative comparable sales in some markets in Central America and in Colombia. We are pleased with the performance of our new clubs in Guatemala and Panama, but as expected, new clubs in existing markets put pressure on comparable store sales due to sales transfers from existing clubs. Additionally, we estimate that in August we lost approximately 90 club days to closures in markets where in-club shopping was not permitted as a result of the rise in COVID cases. This metric does not take into account the additional impact on through-put from government-mandated reductions in hours or limits on the days or times consumers are allowed to shop,” said Bahrambeygui.
“Our team deserves recognition for the rapid development, deployment and expansion of our Click & Go service and ongoing innovation to enhance the Member experience. We extend our heart-felt gratitude to our front-line workers who we continually strive to keep as safe as possible while they do the important work of taking care of our Members.”
Fiscal year to date, which includes the twelve months ended August 31, 2020, net merchandise sales increased 3.2% to $3,191.8 million from $3,091.6 million for the twelve months ended August 31, 2019. Foreign currency exchange rate fluctuations impacted net merchandise sales negatively by 2.1% or $61.9 million versus the same twelve-month period in the prior year.
For the 52-week period ended August 30, 2020, comparable net merchandise sales decreased 1.5% compared to the same 52-week period a year ago. Foreign currency exchange rate fluctuations impacted comparable net merchandise sales negatively by 1.9% or $59.3 million versus the same prior year period.
PriceSmart plans to release fourth quarter and full year 2020 financial results on Thursday, October 29, 2020, after the market closes. PriceSmart management will host a conference call at 12:00 p.m. Eastern time (9:00 a.m. Pacific time) on Friday, October 30, 2020, to discuss the financial results. Individuals interested in participating in the conference call may do so by dialing (855) 209-8211 toll free, or (412) 317-5214 for international callers, and asking to join the PriceSmart, Inc. call. A digital replay will be available through November 6, 2020, following the conclusion of the call by dialing (877) 344-7529 for domestic callers, or (412) 317-0088 for international callers, and entering replay passcode 10147692.