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Costco reports 14 consecutive months of sales growth

BY Marianne Wilson

Costco “turned in a month for the ages in the current retail environment,” Ken Perkins, analyst at Retail Metrics, told MarketWatch.

Net sales surged 13.2% to $11.26 billion in November, up from $9.95 billion in the year-ago period. Online sales rose 39%, and were up 44% in the 12-week period through Nov. 26, helped by an expanded assortment and faster delivery times.

Costco’s total same-store sales rose 10.8%, its biggest monthly gain since September 2011. Excluding the impacts from changes in gasoline prices and foreign exchange, U.S. same-store sales rose 8.4%. 6.3% in Canada and 7.2% internationally.

Customer traffic at Costco’s U.S. locations was up 5.9% in November. The retailer saw growth across hardline and soft line categories, as well as food and sundries.

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Cyber Monday surpasses Amazon’s Prime Day sale numbers

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Throughout what Amazon calls the “Turkey 5,” or the five shopping days spanning Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday, Amazon customers “worldwide ordered at record levels,” according to the online giant.

Customers ordered “hundreds of millions of products” on Amazon from Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday. Amazon App orders on Cyber Monday increased more than 50% worldwide year-over-year. Meanwhile, between new lower prices on turkeys and Prime members receiving an even deeper discount this year, Whole Foods Market in the U.S. broke its all-time record of turkeys sold during the Thanksgiving season, Amazon reported.

The Echo Dot emerged as Amazon’s biggest seller on Cyber Monday. This is in line with Prime Day, when the device was Amazon’s biggest seller during the online giant’s 30-hour shopping event in July.

Over the Thanksgiving weekend, “Customers purchased millions of Amazon’s Alexa-enabled devices, and Alexa devices were the top sellers across all of Amazon,” Dave Limp, senior VP of Amazon’s devices and services division, said in a CNBC report.

Other Alexa-enabled devices sold from Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday included the Fire TV Stick, the new Echo, and Amazon’s Fire 7 tablet, according to the report.

“Amazon customers shopped at record levels during the Turkey 5, ordering hundreds of millions of products from toys to fashion to electronics and Amazon devices,” stated Jeff Wilke, CEO Amazon’s Worldwide Consumer division. “Customers ordered nearly 140 million items from small businesses alone, and this is just the beginning of the holiday season.”

The online giant is citing Cyber Monday 2017 as its single biggest shopping day in the company’s history, surpassing Prime Day 2017, which generated approximately $1 billion in revenue, according to initial estimates from analysts at Cowen & Co. and JPMorgan Chase & Co. (Some estimates put the total even higher.)

While Amazon did not provide hard sales numbers for Prime Day, the e-retailer said that sales grew by more than 60% compared to last year’s event, with a “record number” of Prime members shopping across 13 countries.

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Albertsons, Instacart partner on home delivery service

BY Marianne Wilson

Albertsons, the nation’s second-largest traditional grocery retailer, has signed an agreement with Instacart, the on-demand grocery delivery service, that will allow the retailer to offer same-day deliveries in as little as an hour.

Under the agreement, Instacart’s delivery service is expected to be available in more than 1,800 of Albertsons’ banners across the country by mid-2018. Albertsons’s store brands include Albertsons, Safeway, Vons, Jewel-Osco, Shaw’s, Acme, Tom Thumb, Randalls, United Supermarkets, Pavilions, Star Market, Haggen and Carrs.

Amazon’s recent purchase of Whole Foods Market has lit a fire under U.S. grocers — and fueled Instacart’s growth. Since the Amazon/Whole Foods deal was completed, Instacart has added an array of grocers, including Ahold, H-E-B, Kroger, Publix and, most recently, Canada’s Loblaw, to its customer base. Instacart has also expanded its partnership with Costco.

“Instacart’s extensive delivery network combined with Albertsons Companies existing home delivery services and established, robust e-commerce offering creates a fantastic customer proposition,” said Shane Sampson, chief marketing and merchandising officer, Albertsons Companies. “Customers can shop how, when and where they choose, with the convenient option of quick delivery straight to their doorsteps.”

Earlier this year, Albertsons began rolling out same day delivery to its namesake banner and to Safeway. The company said its current home delivery network and digital programs will continue to serve its growing customer base in existing markets.

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