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

(RTTNews) – The Canadian market closed on a buoyant note on Wednesday as stocks from across several sectors moved higher on sustained buying support amid renewed optimism about a U.S. stimulus deal.

After asking his administration’s negotiators to halt discussions with Democrats over a coronavirus relief plan earlier on Tuesday, U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted later that night that he would support individual stimulus measures.

“The House & Senate should IMMEDIATELY Approve 25 Billion Dollars for Airline Payroll Support, & 135 Billion Dollars for Paycheck Protection Program for Small Business. Both of these will be fully paid for with unused funds from the Cares Act. Have this money. I will sign now!” Trump tweeted.

He later added, “If I am sent a Stand Alone Bill for Stimulus Checks ($1,200), they will go out to our great people IMMEDIATELY. I am ready to sign right now.”

Stocks in Canadian and U.S. markets rallied on Trump’s backtrack.

The benchmark S&P/TSX Composite Index ended stronger by 192.17 points or 1.18% at 16,428.30. The index touched a high of 16,443.91.

Healthcare stocks were the top gainers. The Capped Healthcare Index surged up 3.85%. Canopy Growth Corp (WEED.TO) spurted nearly 8%. Cronos Group (CRON.TO) gained a little over 5% and Bausch Health Companies (BHC.TO) moved up 4.7%, while Aphria Inc. (APHA.TO) and Aurora Cannabis (ACB.TO) gained 4% and 2.7%, respectively.

The Consumer Discretionary Index climbed 2.59%. Sleep Country Canada Holdings (ZZZ.TO), up 7.5%, was the top gainer in the section. Aritzia (ATZ.TO) and Magna International (MG.TO) gained 6.3% and 5.5%, respectively. Gildan Activewear (GIL.TO), Martinrea International (MRE.TO), Great Canadian Gaming Corp (GC) and Canada Goose Holdings (GOOS.TO) also rose sharply.

The Capped Energy Index gained 2.06%, riding on Seven Generations Energy (VII.TO), Crescent Point Energy (CPG.TO), Vermilion Energy (VET.TO), Whitecap Resources (WCP.TO), Canadian Natural Resources

The numbers: The huge service side of the U.S. economy — retailers, restaurants, banks, hospitals and the like — expanded in September for the fourth month in a row and employment also grew for the first time since the pandemic began, a survey business executives showed.

An index of non-manufacturing companies rose to 57.8% last month from 56.9% in August, the Institute for Supply Management said Monday.

Any number above 50% means more companies are expanding. Strong gains in both the ISM service and manufacturing indexes suggest the recovery set down more roots in September.

Read:Consumer confidence surges to highest level of coronavirus era

The surveys are limited in what they reveal, however. The ISM survey of senior executives asks if business has gotten better or worse compared to the prior month, but it doesn’t reveal how much better. As the result, the relatively high level of the index overstates how well the economy is performing.

While many companies have fully reopened and are getting back up to speed, others like restaurants and airlines continue to operate under government restrictions or have suffered a deep decline in customer traffic that won’t be quickly reversed.

What happened: New orders and production both grew a bit faster in September.

The index of new orders dropped rose to 61.5% from 56.8%. And the gauge for production edged up to 63% from 62.4%.

The best news was employment turning positive for the first time since February. The employment gauge climbed to 51.8% from 47.9%, suggesting companies are adding more workers than they are letting go.

Service-oriented businesses cut millions of jobs earlier in the pandemic and employment remains well below precrisis levels, however. Nor is the coast entirely clear.

Read:U.S. adds 661,000 jobs in September and unemployment rate falls to 7.9%

Disney

One of Donald Trump’s aides has also tested positive for COVID-19.

It was confirmed that Nicholas Luna caught the virus a little more than 24 hours after Trump was hospitalized at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Bloomberg reports. As one of Trump’s “body men,” Luna runs Oval Office operations for the White House, handles Trump’s papers and speech texts, and accompanies Trump on his trips—like to the debate in Cleveland—putting Luna on board Air Force One during the Minnesota trip where advisor Hope Hicks was first showing symptoms.

Trump and the first lady announced on Friday that they had tested positive for the virus, and now, it’s been confirmed that a total of 15 people have caught COVID: Trump, Melania Trump, and Hicks; Trump’s campaign manager Bill Stepien; the Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel; Utah Sen. Mike Lee, North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis, Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson; former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie; former White House adviser Kellyanne Conway; three White House reporters, one White House staffer; and Rev. John Jenkins, president of Notre Dame University.

Many suspect that Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s Supreme Court nomination ceremony at the White House may be the social event where many of the aforementioned contracted the virus, as very few attendees wore face coverings. Joe Biden has since tested negative for coronavirus, but because the illness has a 14-day incubation period, this doesn’t mean he’s out of the woods just yet.

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