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Costco Quarterly Profit Trails Estimates Even as Sales Rise

Costco sales
A sales associate helps a customer check out at a Costco Wholesale Corp. store in Mount Prospect, Illinois. Costco’s total third-quarter sales rose 7.1 percent to $25.8 billion. Photographer: Tim Boyle/Bloomberg

May 29 (Bloomberg) -- Costco Wholesale Corp., the largest U.S. warehouse-club chain, posted fiscal third-quarter profit that missed analysts’ estimates even as comparable sales gained 6 percent.

Net income in the quarter ended May 11 rose 3.1 percent to $473 million, or $1.07 a share, from $459 million, or $1.04, a year earlier, the Issaquah, Washington-based company said today in a statement. Analysts projected $1.10, the average of 25 estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

U.S. retailers of all stripes struggled with harsh winter weather and shaky consumer confidence during the most recent quarter. Even so, sales at Costco stores open more than a year increased in the quarter, with a 6 percent advance excluding changes in gasoline prices and foreign-currency exchange rates.

Revenue by similar measures fell 0.2 percent at Wal-Mart Stores Inc. in the U.S. and dropped 0.3 percent at Target Corp. in their most recent quarters.

Costco’s total third-quarter sales rose 7.1 percent to $25.8 billion. Analysts estimated $25.9 billion, on average. Revenue from membership fees advanced 5.6 percent to $561 million.

Costco fell 0.1 percent to $114.14 at the close in New York. The shares have gained 1.1 percent in the past 12 months, compared with a 16 percent advance for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index.

To contact the reporter on this story: Renee Dudley in New York at rdudley6@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Nick Turner at nturner7@bloomberg.net Kevin Orland, John Lear

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