Sales at Costco (NASDAQ: COST) may indeed have fallen this January, but how is the firm performing compared with its competition?
MSSI Data from January on Costco and its two main competitors, Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT) and BJ’s (NYSE: BJ), reflect that BJ’s gained some ground against its rivals. The average trip to BJ’s saw Geezeo users spending almost 10% more in January ‘09 compared with December ‘08 figures, which is significantly better than the 4.79% dip at Costco and almost 1% decrease at Wal-Mart over the same period.
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Looking at aggregate figures for this sector, which includes firms like Target (NYSE: TGT) and Big Lots (NYSE: BIG), Wal-Mart holds clear market dominance, accounting for 37% of sector sales. BJ’s gains have not done much to shift this balance of power.
The dip in consumer spending can partially be attributed to a return to normal following last month’s holiday season. Compared to January ‘08 figures, Costco has seen a 9.24% increase, BJ’s a 13.54%, and Wal-Mart a significant 38% in the average monthly customer spending. These percentages indicate that people are indeed spending more, even given the economic situation. As long as these firms can keep attracting customers, they have the ability to position themselves well. This data was compiled by the Geezeo Main Street Spending Index (MSSI).