Costco posts sales, earnings gain in Q4

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Company finished the year with 783 warehouse clubs

ISSAQUAH, Wash. — Costco Wholesale Corp. posted solid sales increases for the 16-week fourth quarter and the 52-week fiscal year, ended September 1.

Net sales for the quarter were $46.45 billion, an increase of 7% from $43.41 billion during the similar period last year. Net sales for the fiscal year were $149.35 billion, an increase of 7.9% from $138.43 billion during the similar period last year.

Same-store sales (adjusted) were up 5.1% for the company as a whole for the quarter, and up 6.1% for the full year.

Costco reported net income of about $1.097 billion, or $2.47 per diluted share, for the fourth quarter. That’s up from $1.043 billion, or $2.36 per diluted share, in the some period last year. This year’s fourth quarter was negatively impacted by a $123 million pre-tax reserve to SG&A ($96 million after-tax), or 22 cents per diluted share, related to a product tax assessment.

Net income for the fiscal year was $3.66 billion, or $8.26 per diluted share, compared to $3.13 billion, or $7.09 per diluted share, in the prior year. As previously disclosed and mentioned above, this year’s net income was impacted by a net benefit of $30 million or $0.07 per diluted share from primarily non-recurring items.  Last year was positively impacted by a first quarter tax benefit of $41 million or $0.09 per diluted share.

Costco currently operates 783 warehouse clubs: 544 in the United States and Puerto Rico, 100 in Canada, 39 in Mexico, 29 in the United Kingdom, 26 in Japan, 16 in Korea, 13 in Taiwan, 11 in Australia, two in Spain, one in France, one in Iceland, and one in China. Costco also operates e-commerce web sites in the U.S., Canada, the United Kingdom, Mexico, Korea and Taiwan.

During the fourth quarter, Costco had 10 net new openings, eight in the U.S., one in the U.K. and the company’s first club in China, which opened in Shanghai on August 27. That club proved so popular that Costco had to temporarily close it about four hours into its grand opening day because of the size of the crowd.





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