PriceSmart, Inc. (NASDAQ: PSMT) earlier this week declared an annual cash dividend in the total amount of $0.70 per share, with $0.35 per share payable on February 26, 2021 to stockholders of record as of February 15, 2021 and $0.35 per share payable on August 31, 2021 to stockholders of record as of August 15, 2021. The California-based international warehouse club operator also announced the election of two new members to the Board of Directors and other results from PriceSmart’s 2021 annual meeting of stockholders held on February 4, 2021.
The company also announced that for the month of January 2021, net merchandise sales grew 5.2% to $267.1 million USD from $254.0 million in January 2020. Foreign currency exchange fluctuations impacted net merchandise sales negatively by 3.5%, or $8.9 million, versus the same one-month period in the prior year. There were 47 warehouse clubs in operation at the end of January 2021 and 45 warehouse clubs in operation at the end of January 2020.
For the four weeks ended January 24, 2021, comparable net merchandise sales for the 45 warehouse clubs open at least 13 ½ full months increased 2.8% when compared to the same period last year. Foreign currency exchange rate fluctuations impacted comparable net merchandise sales negatively by 3.3%, or $7.7 million, versus the same period in the prior year.
The international warehouse club operator announced that for the month of January 2021, net merchandise sales grew 5.2% to $267.1 million USD from $254.0 million in January 2020.
“In January, net merchandise sales and comparable net merchandise sales grew despite a surge in COVID cases and increased COVID-related restrictions in some of our markets. Consolidated comparable sales increased in January but were partially offset by declines in Colombia and Trinidad. The Colombia comparable net merchandise sales decline was primarily due to two significant factors: the increase in reported COVID cases that drove an increase in restrictions on circulation and the impact from sales that transferred from existing clubs to our recently opened Usaquén club in Bogotá. Sales declined in our Trinidad market largely due to our decision to limit U.S. merchandise imports because of ongoing insufficient U.S. dollar liquidity. We are pursuing alternative solutions to mitigate the current illiquidity challenges in Trinidad, while continuing to reassess the current limitations on an ongoing basis. As this pandemic persists, we lost approximately 70 club days in January, where in-club shopping was prohibited. In addition, several locations contended with reduced operating hours, restrictions on segments of the population permitted to shop or circulate, limitations on the number of people allowed inside our clubs and restrictions on certain areas of our business such as food services and Optical,” said CEO Sherry S. Bahrambeygui.
Fiscal year to date, which includes the five months ended January 31, 2021, net merchandise sales increased 6.0% to $1,478.1 million from $1,395.0 million for the five months ended January 31, 2020. Foreign currency exchange rate fluctuations impacted net merchandise sales negatively by 3.4% or $46.9 million versus the same five-month period in the prior year.
“Our Click & Go service, including curbside pickup and delivery, contributed approximately 3.6% of total net merchandise sales for the month. Delivery through Click &Go is now available in all of our markets, and the demand for delivery continues to grow as a portion of total Click & Go sales. Developing greater efficiencies remains a priority, especially within these new sales channels. We recently introduced the option for our Members to select specific dates and windows of time for curbside pickup and delivery, which allows us to improve service and offer greater convenience to our Members,” added Bahrambeygui.
For the 21-week period ending January 24, 2021, comparable net merchandise sales increased 2.2% compared to the same twenty-one-week period a year ago. Foreign currency exchange rate fluctuations impacted comparable net merchandise sales negatively by 3.3% or $43.9 million versus the same prior year period.
PriceSmart shareholders elected the following individuals to its Board of Directors:
Patricia Márquez has served as Dean of the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies at the University of San Diego since 2014, and in July 2020 she started her dual role as Associate Provost for Academic Planning and Innovation and Dean of the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies. Her research has focused on the intersection of business and social value creation, with an emphasis on poverty alleviation through market mechanisms. Prior to joining USD, Dr. Márquez was a professor and dean at IESA, a School of Business in Caracas, Venezuela from 2003 to 2005.
David Snyder has served as a senior counsel at Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, LLP since 2018 and previously served as a partner from 1993 until 2017 in the firm’s Corporate and Securities practice. During 25 years as a partner, Mr. Snyder also served as Pillsbury’s executive vice-chair for two years and on the firm’s managing board for 15 years. Mr. Snyder has been a practicing attorney for over 40 years, focusing on corporate finance and has significant experience representing and advising public companies and their boards.
“We are pleased to welcome two new directors who have experience that will especially strengthen our board in the area of environmental and social responsibility and on governance matters,” added Bahrambeygui. “We look forward to Dr. Márquez’s participation as a recognized expert in environmental and social responsibility matters. She will serve as the Chair of the new Environmental and Social Responsibility Committee of our Board of Directors. Dr. Márquez has dedicated her career to driving innovation for achieving prosperity, peace, justice, and social change. We also welcome Mr. Snyder, who has over 40 years of legal experience representing and advising public companies and their boards on governance and compliance matters in addition to broad experience in executive management.”
In addition to Dr. Marquez and Mr. Snyder, the following directors were re-elected: Sherry S. Bahrambeygui, Jeffrey Fisher, Gordon H. Hanson, Beatriz V. Infante, Leon C. Janks, Mitchell G. Lynn, Robert E. Price and Edgar Zurcher.
PriceSmart operates 47 warehouse clubs in 12 countries and one U.S. territory (eight in Costa Rica and Colombia; seven in Panama; five in the Dominican Republic, four in Trinidad and Guatemala; three in Honduras; two each in El Salvador and Nicaragua; and one each in Aruba, Barbados, Jamaica and the United States Virgin Islands). The company also plans to open new warehouse clubs in Guatemala City, Guatemala and Bucaramanga, Colombia in the fall of 2021, and in Portmore, Jamaica in the spring of 2022. Once these three new clubs are open, the company will operate 50 warehouse clubs.