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Small Appliances Help Costco Enjoy Sunny August, Year

For the 52-week fiscal year ended September 1, Costco Wholesale Corp. posted net sales of $102.9 billion, an increase of 6% from the $97.1 billion reported in the 53-week annum ended September 2, 2012. Overall unadjusted comparable store sales and those adjusted for fuel and foreign exchange rate volatility advanced by 6% year over year, with both domestic and international figures identical to the company tally.

For the 16-week fourth quarter, Costco posted net sales of $31.8 billion, an increase of 1% from the 17-week 2012 period with unadjusted domestic comps up 5%, international comps up 4% and overall company comps up 5%. Adjusted comps gained 5% domestically, 7% internationally and 5% overall.

For August, the company posted net sales of $7.95 billion, an increase of 7% from the 2012 month, with unadjusted domestic comps up 4%, international up 2% and company up 4%. Adjusted comps gained 5% domestically, 8% internationally and 6% overall.

According to published analyst estimates, August comps came in slightly ahead of Wall Street expectations.

In a conference call, the company stated that the Southeast, Midwest and Texas reported the strongest comps in August on a regional basis. As for merchandising categories, Softlines comps advanced in the low double-digit range with small appliances, domestics, apparel and jewelry coming in as the strongest segments. Hardlines comps were slightly positive with health & beauty aids, office, and lawn & garden delivering the best performances, while consumer electronics came in negative. Food & Sundry comps were up in the mid single digit range, while Fresh Food delivered high single-digit comps.

Costco operates 634 warehouses, including 451 in the United States and Puerto Rico, 85 in Canada, 33 in Mexico, 25 in the United Kingdom, 18 in Japan, 10 in Taiwan, nine in Korea and three in Australia. The company also operates e-commerce web sites, at in the United States, in Canada and in the United Kingdom. Costco stated that it plans to open up to 15 new warehouse clubs before the end of calendar year 2013.