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Costco Rolls Through Q3 With Help From Small Electrics, Lawn & Garden

For the second quarter of fiscal 2013, ended February 17, Costco Wholesale Corp. reported that net income was $547 million, or $1.24 per diluted share, versus $394 million, or 90 cents per diluted share, in last year’s period. The retailer noted that a tax benefit positively impacted net income by $62 million, or 14 cents per diluted share.

Subtracting the benefit, Costco’s earnings per diluted shares still topped published consensus analyst estimates of $1.06.

Costco posted an 8% gain in net sales for the second quarter to $24.34 billion versus the year earlier. Excluding the impact of gasoline and currency price fluctuations, comparable store sales for the retailer’s warehouse clubs in the United States gained 5% and those from international markets increased 4% for a company comp of 5%.

Both shopping frequency and average transaction increased, Costco noted in a conference call, with the comp gain being the result.

For the quarter, Softlines comps improved in the higher single digits with small electrics one of the segments making a particular contribution, Costco said in the conference call. Hardlines comps increased in the low single digits with lawn and garden among the better performing segments. Food and Sundries comps gained in the mid single digits, as did those for Fresh Food.

Costco operates 622 warehouse clubs, with 448 in the United States 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, as well as electronic commerce web sites at, and The company stated that it plans to open up to 14 new retail units before the end of its fiscal year on September 1.