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Costco Beats Wall Street As Operations Continue Consistent Gains

In its fiscal third quarter, Costco generated net income of $459 million, or $1.04 per diluted share, versus $386 million, or 88 cents per diluted share, in the year-prior period. Comparable store sales, excluding the effects of gasoline prices and foreign exchange rates, were up 7% in the United States and 7% internationally for a 7% company comp.

Costco beat a published Thomson Reuters earnings per share consensus analysts estimate by a penny.

With the effects of gasoline prices and foreign exchange rates included, comps in the U.S. were up 6% and those in international markets gained 4%, with the result that the company comp advanced 5%.

Net sales in the quarter increased 8%, the retailer pointed out, to $23.55 billion.

Among Costco’s merchandise categories, the company noted in a conference call, Softlines was particularly strong, up about 10%, with small electrics, housewares, jewelry and apparel performing best among segments. Hardlines sales grew in the high single digit range with the strongest segments including hardware, lawn and garden, and consumer electronics. Food and Sundries sales gained in the mid single digit range, while Fresh Foods sales advanced in the high single digit range.

Texas and the Southeast were the strongest sales regions.

Costco currently operates 627 warehouse clubs, including 449 in the United States and Puerto Rico, 85 in Canada, 33 in Mexico, 24 in the United Kingdom, 15 in Japan, nine in Taiwan, nine in Korea and three in Australia.

Costco stated that it plans to open as many as nine new warehouses clubs by the end of its fiscal year on September 1. Costco also operates e-commerce web sites at in the U.S., in Canada and in the United Kingdom.