Costco bucks dividend suspension trend with near 8% raise

Customers queue to enter a Costco Wholesalers in Chingford, Britain

(Reuters) – Costco Wholesale Corp <COST.O> said on Wednesday it would raise its quarterly dividend by 7.7% to 70 cents per share, at a time when several major companies have suspended cash returns to shareholders to shore up liquidity.

Unlike the rest of corporate America, which has been hammered by the coronavirus crisis, grocery retailers and some packaged-food companies have seen sales surge in recent weeks, as consumers stockpile household essentials to weather strict lockdowns across the United States.

Costco, which last week reported a 9.6% jump in March comparable sales, joins Procter & Gamble <PG.N> and Johnson & Johnson <JNJ.N> which also raised their dividends earlier this week.

Costco’s dividend is payable on May 15.

(Reporting by Uday Sampath in Bengaluru; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli)