PriceSmart, Inc. PSMT broke its five-month negative comparable net merchandise sales (comps) trend in September. Apparently, comps for the four weeks ended Sep 27, 2020, inched up 0.3% for 43 warehouse clubs. Comps were hurt by foreign-currency fluctuations to the tune of $8 million or 3.5%. Prior to this, comps had fallen 2.8%, 4.5%, 4.9%, 6.7% and 19.2% in the months of August, July, June, May and April, respectively.
Moreover, net merchandise sales during the month under review grew 4.6% to $258.1 million from $246.7 million in the year-ago period. However, currency-rate fluctuations negatively impacted the metric by $8.6 million or 3.5%.
In spite of 30 club days lost in September, PriceSmart saw positive comps and higher net merchandise sales in the month. The company witnessed higher net merchandise sales in the Colombian market, while negative comps were witnessed across certain markets in Central America. Meanwhile, Panama, which is among one of the company’s key markets, remains subjected to important restrictions even on the days when the clubs are open. Nonetheless, performance of its new clubs in Guatemala and Panama was impressive. Unsurprisingly, the opening of new clubs in existing markets hurts comps owing to the sales transfers from existing clubs.
We note that management remains committed toward enhancing the online capabilities and developing innovative ways to better serve its members. PriceSmart is progressing well with the technology-enabled shopping, with its Click & Go contactless online ordering. Moreover, the curbside-pickup service is available across all its markets, with delivery options being extended to nine markets compared to six in the prior month. This Click & Go service, along with curbside pickup and delivery, accounted for nearly 3.3% of the overall net merchandise sales during the month under review. In fact, PriceSmart believes that Click & Go, coupled with its other