Categories Analysis, Consumer, Markets, Retail

Most firms think it is too early to gauge the impact of coronavirus

Wall Street firms that reported financial results last week had mixed views on the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on their businesses. While the companies expressed concern over the disruptions, the majority of them believe their future operations would not be significantly impacted by the coronavirus outbreak.

Plug Power

Andy Marsh, CEO of alternative energy technology company Plug Power Inc. (NASDAQ: PLUG) said at the latest conference call that the company faced difficulties in monitoring its supply chain due to disruption caused by the epidemic, especially in China. However, Marsh does not see the situation having any impact on the first-quarter and full-year results.


Store operator Kroger Co. (NYSE: KR), which has limited supply chain exposure in China, is more concerned about the precautionary measures than the potential impact of the epidemic on its finances. CEO Rodney McMullan said there has been an increase in the sales volumes in certain categories in recent weeks as customers rushed to stock up on essential items. Efforts are on to make sure there is enough stock of critical items.

Related: Stock trading halted after sharp falls on coronavirus fears

The management of tax consultant H&R Block (NYSE: HRB) feels it is too early to assess the impact of COVID-19 outbreak on the company’s operations.


Costco Wholesale (COST) Q2 results beat estimates on 9% comp sales growth

Costco Wholesale Corporation (NASDAQ: COST) partly attributed its strong sales growth in the second-quarter, especially the digital channel, to panic buying by customers in February following COVID-19 outbreak. According to CFO Richard Galanti, the epidemic contributed around 3 percentage points to last month’s sales and comps. The store operator expects the demand for certain items to remain elevated in the coming weeks.

BJ’s Wholesale Club

Costco’s rival BJ’s Wholesale Club Holdings (NYSE: BJ) issued financial guidance that did not include any impact from the Coronavirus outbreak, though the company expects shipping delays for a part of its summer seasonal items. There has been in increase in the sales of certain categories in the most recent quarter, reflecting the high caution linked to the epidemic.

Dollar General

Discount store operator Dollar General (NYSE: DG) said it is not affected by the ongoing uncertainties and claimed its sourcing operations in China and freight movement are almost normal. The initial outlook for fiscal 2020 does not include the impact of the crisis.

American Outdoor Brands

Meanwhile, there was concern in the comments of Brian Murphy, Co-CEO of specialty retailer American Outdoor Brands (NASDAQ: AOBC), at the third-quarter conference call. The results were dragged down by manufacturing delays caused by COVID-19. Murphy expects the epidemic crisis to have a negative impact on fourth-quarter results as the apparel retailer sources a sizable quantity of its products from China.

American Eagle Outfitters

American Eagle Outfitters (NYSE: AEO) said its first-quarter earnings outlook included a $0.01 per share impact on its Hong Kong stores, due to coronavirus. While ruling out any supply chain disruptions for the time being, the company warned the situation could deteriorate in the coming days.

Also read: How has COVID-19 impacted these major Chinese stocks?

Access management solutions provider Okta, Inc. (NASDAQ: OKTA) said its business was unaffected by the current headwinds in the fourth quarter. Assuming that it would remain the same, the management issued positive guidance for the first quarter and fiscal 2020.

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