LOS ALTOS, CALIF. - After the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, Costco may be losing its grip as the top retailer in the wholesale sector. Costco has been the hardest hit out of the top three leaders in the sector that also include Sam’s Club and BJ’s Wholesale. 

According to data released by Placer.ai, Costco saw a notable decrease in year over year traffic from April to June, while Sam’s Club saw slight losses in April and May and an increase in June and BJ’s Wholesale saw sizeable increases in store traffic.  

Before the pandemic hit both Costco and Sam’s Club were seeing growth, with Costco seeing an 11.9% boost year over year in February and Sam’s Club an increase of 13.6%. Whereas in January BJ’s saw a 3% decrease and an 8.8% increase in February. 

Since February, BJ’s Wholesale has been surging. Visits in March were up 30.3% year over year, and this growth has sustained throughout the pandemic with June visits rising 15.7% year over year. 

While Costco dropped to a 28.4% loss by April and only recovered to a 6.7% loss by June. Sam’s Club also struggled in April with a 7.4% loss, but by June the retailer was experiencing a 3.4% gain. 

"The pace for the sector has been steady with a pickup the week of July 6th. Clearly, rising concerns of a new shutdown are providing a lift,” said Ethan Chernofsky, vice president of marketing for Placer.ai. “But it is critical to remember the built-in effect that club memberships benefit from in driving repeat visits. If you’re willing to shell out money for a yearly membership, the likelihood of you returning to maximize this ‘investment’ is very high.”