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Costco Cruises Through January

In January, Costco Wholesale Corp. comparable store sales, excluding the impact of gasoline price and currency exchange fluctuations, gained 4% in the United States and 3% internationally versus the month a year ago for a company-wide figure of 4%, the company reported. Net sales increased 7% to $9.35 billion for the month of January versus the period last year.

This year’s fiscal month contained one less day compared to January 2011 due to the timing of the New Year’s holiday, a circumstance that negatively impacted total and comparable sales by approximately 2%.

With gas and currency exchange impacts included, U.S. comps gained 3% and international comps increased 5% for a companywide 4% comp.

Regionally, Costco stated in a conference call, Texas, the Southeast, Midwest and Northwest posted the strongest comps. In terms of merchandising categories, Softlines, Hardlines and Fresh Food all comped positive in the mid single digits. Food and Sundries comps advanced in the low single digits, Costco reported.

Costco operates 622 warehouses with 448 in the U.S. and Puerto Rico, 85 in Canada, 32 in Mexico, 23 in the United Kingdom, 13 in Japan, nine in Taiwan, nine in Korea and three in Australia. The company said it plans to open an additional 14 clubs prior to the end of its fiscal year on September 1.