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Costco beats estimates in third quarter

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ISSAQUAH, Wash. — Costco Wholesale Corp. on Thursday announced third quarter sales and earnings that beat analyst expectations.

Net sales for the quarter ended May 7 increased 8% to $28.22 billion, up from $26.15 billion in the same period last year.  Net sales for the first 36 weeks increased 6%, to $84.82 billion from $80.34 billion last year.

Net income for the quarter amounted to $700 million, or $1.59 per share. That’s up from $545 million, or $1.24 per share, in the same period last year. The net income figure for the quarter was positively impacted by an $82 million ($0.19 per diluted share) tax benefit. Excluding one-time items, Costco reported earnings of $1.40 per share, which beat Wall Street analysts’ expectations of $1.31, according to a Reuters consensus estimate.

Costco reported comparable-store sales gains for the quarter and year-to-date periods as well. Comparable-store sales in the United States increased 6% in the 12-week quarter and 3% in the 36-week period, or 5% and 3% when the impact of gasoline price changes are excluded. The total company reported comparable-store sales gains of 5% for the quarter and 3% for the year-to-date period.

Costco chief financial officer Richard Galanti noted that both both shopping frequency and the average amount customers spent per transaction increased in the quarter..


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