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Costco tops sales, earnings expectations in Q1

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ISSAQUAH, Wash. — Costco Wholesale Corp. on Thursday reported first-quarter sales and earnings results that beat Wall Street estimates.

The company posted net sales of $56.72 billion for the 12-week fiscal first quarter ended November 26, an increase of 6.1% from the $53.44 billion reported in last year’s first quarter. Comparable club sales rose 2.0% in the U.S. (2.6% adjusted to exclude fuel and the effects of foreign exchange rates) and 3.8% (3.9%) adjusted for the company as a whole. E-commerce sales were up 6.3% (6.1% adjusted).

Costco said its total paid household members increased by 7.6% in the quarter, and its membership fee revenues rose 8.2% to $1.08 billion.

Net income for the quarter was $1.59 billion, or $3.58 per diluted share, up from $1.36 billion, or $3.07 per diluted share, in last year’s quarter. This year’s results included a tax benefit of $44 million, $0.10 per diluted share, related to stock-based compensation. Last year’s results included a charge of $93 million pre-tax, $0.15 per diluted share, primarily related to downsizing the company’s charter shipping activities, and a tax benefit of $53 million, $0.12 per diluted share, related to stock-based compensation.

Costco also announced that the Board of Directors has declared a special cash dividend on the company’s common stock of $15 per share. The dividend will be payable on January 12, 2024, to shareholders of record as of the close of business on December 28, 2023. The aggregate amount of the payment will be approximately $6.7 billion.

Costco also said it plans to ramp up its expansion pace in the coming year. The company expects to add 31 new locations this year, including about 24 in the U.S. New warehouse clubs set to open outside the U.S. will include the company’s sixth location in China, which is scheduled to open in early 2024.

Costco currently operates 871 warehouses, including 600 in the United States and Puerto Rico, 108 in Canada, 40 in Mexico, 33 in Japan, 29 in the United Kingdom, 18 in Korea, 15 in Australia, 14 in Taiwan, five in China, four in Spain, two in France, and one each in Iceland, New Zealand and Sweden. Costco also operates e-commerce sites in the U.S., Canada, the U.K., Mexico, Korea, Taiwan, Japan and Australia.


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