PriceSmart Feb Sales Lag

Zacks

San Diego-based retail warehouse stores operator, PriceSmart, Inc. (PSMT) recently announced net and comparable sales for February as well as for the six months ended Feb 28, 2013.

The company reported 7.8% growth in net sales to $164.7 million for the month, much below its trend of reporting double-digit growth. Sales in the month were hurt by one less selling day in Feb this year as the previous year was a leap year. PriceSmart reported a year-over-year increase of 8.9% in comparable warehouse sales for the 5 weeks ended Mar 3, 2013. The company had 30 warehouse clubs in operation at the end of the month, against 29 at the end of Feb last year.

For the six months ended Feb 28, 2013, net sales grew 10.9% to $1.12 billion. The comparable warehouse sales for 26 weeks ended Mar 3, 2013, increased 8.8% year over year.

PriceSmart is involved in the operation of membership shopping warehouses in international markets. The company sells good-quality basic consumer products at affordable prices. PriceSmart has been reaping the benefits of a shift in consumer preference. Consumers are shifting toward lower-priced brands and private-label merchandise sold by the company due to slow economic recovery, low employment level and reduced consumer spending. This business model helps PriceSmart to consistently generate strong sales, earn profits and offset low margins.

PriceSmart also announced that it has acquired a new property in Honduras on which it aims to build its third Membership Warehouse Club in the country. The property comprising 21,200 square meters of land is located in the southern Tegucigalpa area of Honduras. The club is expected to be opened in spring 2014.

The company is scheduled to release its second quarter fiscal 2013 results on Apr 9, 2013. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the quarter is pegged at 80 cents, representing a year-over-year growth rate of 19.4%.

PriceSmart carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Other retailers like Gap Inc. (GPS), Limited Brands Inc. (LTD) and Costco Wholesale Corporation (COST) registered comps growth of 3%, 3% and 6%, respectively, in the month of Feb.

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