Costco Wholesale Corp. sells lots of things you wouldn’t expect from a big-box retailer: caskets, caviar, six-pound tubs of Nutella. Add to that list one-ounce bars of gold, which the company on Tuesday said were selling out within a matter of hours.
“I’ve gotten a couple of calls that people have seen online that we’ve been selling one-ounce gold bars,” Chief Financial Officer Richard Galanti said on Costco’s
quarterly earnings call on Tuesday. “Yes, but when we load them on the site, they’re typically gone within a few hours, and we limit two per member.”
Costco did not immediately respond to a request for more information about the types of gold bars it sells, how much they cost or the factors behind the demand. On Wednesday, the site showed a price of $1979.99 per ounce for the bars. Shares of Costco were up 1.3% on Wednesday.
Gold is generally seen as a safe-haven investment and a hedge against inflation. Buying by central banks, lingering worries about a deceleration in the economy and jewelry purchases have helped prop up prices, according to a recent Bloomberg story and data tracker Goldhub. But higher interest rates have acted as a counterweight, and some analysts have wondered whether more volatility is on the horizon for gold prices.
Costco’s quarterly results, reported Tuesday, topped expectations. Analysts have said the retail chain remains attractive to customers who are looking for a break from higher prices.
Shares of the company are up 23.8% so far this year. By comparison, the S&P 500 Index
is up 11.4% over that period.