Overall adjusted comparable store sales increased 7.9%
Net sales for the first quarter ended November 26 were $31.12 billion, an increase of 13.3% from the $27.47 billion posted for the first quarter last year. The company noted that this year’s 12-week first quarter included one less sales day in the U.S. than the comparable prior year period, due to the shift of the Thanksgiving holiday. As a result pre-Thanksgiving and Black Friday/Holiday weekend sales fell into this year’s first quarter this year, but were in the second quarter last year. Costco estimates that the shift boosted this year’s first quarter sales by about 1.5%, net, in the United States, and somewhat less than that worldwide.
Comparable store sales gains for the quarter were also strong, increasing 10.3% in the United States and 10.5% for the company as a whole. In Costco’s e-commerce business, comparable store sales were up 43.5%. When gasoline and currency fluctuations are excluded, Costco’s comparable store sales were up 7.9% for the company as a whole, 8.7% for its domestic clubs and 42.1% for its e-commerce business.
Costco reported net income of $640 million, or $1.45 per diluted share, for the quarter. That compares to $545 million, or $1.24 per diluted share, last year. The company pointed out that this year’s first quarter benefited from a $41 million tax benefit related to a change in accounting rules for stock-based compensation. Last year’s first quarter benefited from a non-recurring $51 million legal settlement.
Costco finished the quarter with 746 warehouse clubs, including 518 in the United States and Puerto Rico, 98 in Canada, 37 in Mexico, 28 in the United Kingdom, 26 in Japan, 13 in Korea, 13 in Taiwan, nine in Australia, two in Spain, one in Iceland and one in France. Costco also operates e-commerce web sites in the U.S., Canada, the United Kingdom, Mexico, Korea and Taiwan.