Costco Profit Tops Estimates, Boosted by Membership Growth

Costco Wholesale Corp., the second-largest U.S. retailer, reported fourth-quarter earnings that topped analysts’ estimates as the warehouse-club chain continues to attract new members.

Net income rose 10 percent to $767 million, or $1.73 a share, the Issaquah, Washington-based company said Tuesday in a statement. Analysts’ estimated $1.66 a share on average.

Costco, which focuses on selling large volumes of goods to its members at low prices, has been performing better than rivals recently. While customers have complained about empty shelves and messy stores at Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Costco has continued to pick up discount shoppers. Costco’s sales rose 1 percent to $35 billion, helped by a 2.2 percent gain in membership fees.

Costco shares rose 0.6 percent to $144.57 at the close in New York. The stock has gained 2 percent this year.

The company posted $35.8 billion in total revenue for the fourth quarter, which ended Aug. 30. That matched analysts’ estimates, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Excluding the effect of falling gas prices and foreign-exchange fluctuations, Costco’s same-store sales grew 6 percent last quarter.

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