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Costco Makes March Strides

For fiscal March, Costco Wholesale Corp. has reported a 7% gain in net sales to $9.67 billion versus the month last year. Company-wide comparable club sales in the five weeks ended April 7, excluding the impact of gasoline and foreign currency fluctuation, gained 6%.

The overall comp gain resulted from a 6% comp advance in the United States and a 5% comp increase internationally, taking gas and foreign exchange impact out of the equation. With those included, Costco U.S. comps gained 5%, international comps gained 2% and the company gained 4%.

In a conference call, a Costco spokesperson said Texas, the Southeast, San Diego and the Northwest were best performing regions in the U.S.

In terms of product categories, softlines, including home goods, enjoyed a high single digit comp gain led by small appliances, jewelry and domestics. Hardlines comps gained in the mid single digit range with a particular boost from consumer electronics, automotive and health and beauty. Food and sundries comparable store sales gained in the mid single digit range while fresh food comps increased in the mid to high single digit range.

Costco operates 626 warehouse clubs including 449 in the United States and Puerto Rico, 85 in Canada, 33 in Mexico, 23 in the United Kingdom, 15 in Japan, nine in Taiwan, nine in Korea and three in Australia. The retailer plans to open up to 10 new warehouses before the end of its fiscal year on September 1, it stated. Costco also operates e-commerce web sites, at in the U.S., in Canada, and in the U.K.