Costco Drops After Missing Estimates, Fueling Retail Fears

Costco Wholesale Corp. shares fell the most in three years after first-quarter earnings missed analysts estimates, showing that the company isn’t immune to a slowdown at brick-and-mortar chains.

Net income fell 3.2 percent to $480 million, or $1.09 a share, the Issaquah, Washington-based company said Tuesday in a statement. Analysts estimated $1.17 a share on average, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The disappointing results come at a shaky time for the U.S. retail industry. Consumer spending at stores fell 10 percent to $20.4 billion over the four-day Thanksgiving weekend, according to ShopperTrak. That has raised concerns about the critical holiday season.

Costco shares fell 5.4 percent to $159.72 in New York, the biggest single-day decline since December 2012. The stock had gained 19 percent this year through Tuesday, outperforming rivals such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Target Corp.

Costco’s revenue rose 1.3 percent to $26.6 billion in the first quarter, which ended Nov. 22. That missed the $27.7 billion estimated by analysts. Excluding the effects of gas prices and foreign-exchange changes, same-store sales grew 6 percent last quarter.

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